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r>  [  '. 










VOL.  I. 





<S?i    • 







PREFACE    vii 



The  Grottasavngr,  or  Mill-Song  207 

The  three  solemn  Pagan  Festivals    208 

The  Quicken-Tree,  or  Mountain-Ash  211 

Of  Places  of  Worship    212 

Of  Soothsaying  and  Sorcery     212 

Epitome  of  German  Mythology  223 


NORTHERN  literature,  more  particularly  that  branch  of  it 
which  is  connected  with  the  early  times  and  antiquities  of 
Scandinavia  and  the  north  of  Germany,  having  of  late 
become  an  object  of  increasing  interest  in  many  parts  of 
Europe,  the  idea  seemed  to  me  not  unreasonable  that  a 
work,  comprehensive  yet  not  too  voluminous,  exhibiting 
the  ancient  mythology  and  principal  mythologic  traditions 
of  those  countries,  might  be  found  both  useful  and  enter 
taining  not  only  to  the  lover  of  Northern  lore  at  home  and 
to  the  English  traveller  over  those  interesting  lands,  but 
also  to  the  English  antiquary,  on  account  of  the  intimate 
connection  subsisting  between  the  heathenism  of  the  Ger 
manic  nations  of  the  Continent  and  those  of  his  own  Saxon 
forefathers,  manifest  traces  of  which  are  to  be  found  in 
the  works  of  our  earliest  chroniclers  and  poets.  It  was 
under  this  impression  that  the  present  work  was  under 

The  first,  or  purely  mythologic,  part  was  originally  in 
tended  to  consist  of  a  mere  translation  of  the  '  Asalsere ' 
of  Professor  N.  M.  Petersen  of  Copenhagen ;  but  on  corn- 


paring  the  several  myths l  as  given  in  that  work  with  the 
text  of  the  two  Eddas,  it  appearing  that  the  conciseness 
observed  by  Prof.  Petersen,  and  which  he,  no  doubt,  found 
necessary  to  his  object2,  not  uiifrequently  impaired  the 
interest  of  the  narrative,  I  resolved,  while  following  the 
plan  of  the  '  Asalsere/  to  have  recourse  to  the  Eddas  them 
selves,  and  exhibit  the  several  fables  or  myths  unabridged, 
in  all  their  fullness,  as  they  appear  in  those  authorities. 

The  interpretation  of  these  myths,  forming  the  second 
part  of  the  first  volume,  is,  with  slight  exceptions,  from 
the  work  of  Prof.  Petersen,  though  considerably  abridged, 
particularly  as  regards  the  etymological  portion,  which,  if 

1  I  use  the  term  myth  rather  in  the  sense  of  legend  or  fable  than  in  the 
signification  now  more  usually  attached  to  it,  that  of  supposing  each  divi 
nity  a  personification  of  the  powers  of  nature  ;  a  theory  which  assumes  a 
degree  of  mental  culture  to  have  existed  among  the  early  settlers  in  the 
North  wholly  incompatihle  with  all  we  know  concerning  them.  As  equally 
applicable  here,  I  will  venture  to  repeat  ray  own  words  used  on  a  former 
similar  occasion  :  "  In  these  meagre  traditions  exist,  I  firmly  believe,  faint 
traces  of  persons  that  once  had  being  and  of  actions  that  once  took  place  ; 
but  that  they  generally  require  a  mythic  interpretation,  is  to  me  more  than 
questionable."  (Lappenberg's  England,  i.  p.  98.) 

Much  more  consistent  with  probability  I  consider  the  view  taken  by 
the  Rev.  A.  Faye,  but  to  which  he  does  not  seem  to  adhere  (see  Introduc 
tion  to  vol.  ii.  p.  xii.),  which  is  the  converse  of  the  theory  before-men 
tioned,  viz.  "  that  unacquaintance  with  nature  and  her  powers,  combined 
with  the  innate  desire  of  finding  a  reason  for  and  explaining  the  various 
natural  phenomena,  that  must  daily  and  hourly  attract  the  attention  of 
mankind,  has  led  them  to  seek  the  causes  of  these  phenomena  in  the 
power  of  beings  who,  as  they  supposed,  had  produced  them : 

Like  '  the  poor  Indian,  whose  untutor'd  mind 

Sees  God  in  clouds  or  hears  him  in  the  wind.' 

"  These  phenomena  were  too  numerous  and  various  to  allow  the 

ascribing  of  them  to  a  single  being,  and  therefore  a  number  of  supernatural 
beings  were  imagined,  whose  dangerous  influence  and  pernicious  wrath 
it  was  sought  to  avert  by  sacrifices  and  other  means." 

2  The  *  Asalsere '  forms  a  part  only  of  the  work  '  Danmarks  Historic  i 
Hedenhold.'     3  vols.  small  8vo. 


given  at  length,  could  hardly  have  failed  of  being  tedious 
to  the  majority  of  readers  in  this  country,  and  the  more 
so  as  much  of  it  is  necessarily  based  on  conjecture ;  an 
objection  from  which,  I  fear,  that  what  is  here  given  will  be 
pronounced  not  wholly  free.  With  this  deduction,  Prof. 
Petersen's  illustrations,  as  contained  in  the  '  Asalsere/  and 
in  his  more  recent  valuable  work  on  the  same  subject 1, 
have  in  general  been  adopted,  as  bearing,  at  least  in  my 
judgement,  a  nearer  resemblance  to  probability  than  any 
others  with  which  I  am  acquainted ;  though  manifesting, 
perhaps,  too  strong  a  tendency  to  the  mythic  theory,  from 
which  I  have  already  ventured  to  express  my  dissent.  A 
small,  though  estimable  work,  by  Prof.  Keyser  of  Chris- 
tiania,  has  also  been  frequently  and  not  unprofitably  con 

That  many  of  the  Northern  myths  are  after  all  densely 
obscure  is  a  lamentable  fact ;  they  were  probably  not  much 
less  so  to  the  Northern  pagans  themselves,  whose  fore 
fathers,  it  may  reasonably  be  supposed,  brought  with  them 
no  great  stock  of  recondite  lore  from  the  mountains  of 
central  Asia  to  their  present  settlements  in  Scandinavia. 
Some  portion  of  their  obscurity  may,  however,  be  perhaps 
ascribed  to  the  form  in  which  they  have  been  preserved ; 
as  even  in  Ssemund's  Edda,  their  oldest  source,  they  ap 
pear  in  a  garb  which  affords  some  ground  for  the  conjec 
ture,  that  the  integrity  of  the  myth  has  been  occasionally 
sacrificed  to  the  structure  and  finish  of  the  poem ;  while  in 

1  Nordisk  Mythologi.     Forlsesninger  af  N.  M.  Petersen.     Kobenhavn, 
1849,  8vo. 

2  Nordmaendenes  Religionsforfatning  i  Hedendommen,  af  R.  Keyser. 
Christiania,  1847,  12mo. 


the  later  Edda  of  Snorri  their  corruption  is,  in  several 
instances,  glaringly  evident,  some  of  them  there  ap 
pearing  in  a  guise  closely  bordering  on  the  ludicrous  l ;  a 
circumstance,  perhaps,  ascribable,  at  least  in  part,  to  the 
zeal  and  sagacity  of  the  Christian  missionaries  and  early 
converts,  who  not  unwisely  considered  ridicule  one  of  the 
most  efficacious  methods  of  extirpating  the  heathenism 
that  still  lingered  among  the  great  mass  of  the  people. 

But  the  myths  of  the  Odinic  faith  were  doomed  to 
undergo  a  yet  greater  debasement;  their  next  and  final 
degradation  being  into  a  middle-age  fiction  or  a  nursery 
tale,  in  which  new  dress  they  are  handly  recognizable.  A 
few  instances  of  such  metamorphoses  will  be  found  in  the 
course  of  the  work,  and  more  are  to  be  met  with  in  the 
popular  tales  of  Scandinavia,  Germany,  the  Netherlands 
and  Italy2. 

But  besides  these,  and  apparently  of  equal  if  not  higher 
antiquity,  there  are  many  traditions  and  superstitions 
which  cannot  be  connected  with  what  we  know  of  the 
Odinic  faith.  These,  it  may  not  unreasonably  be  con 
jectured,  are  relics  of  the  mythology  of  the  Fins  and  other 
primitive  inhabitants  of  Scandinavia,  who  were  driven 
northwards  or  into  the  mountain-recesses  by  Odin  and 
his  followers,  and  in  whom  and  in  their  posterity  we  are 
to  look  for  the  giants  (jotnar,  jsetter,  jutuler,  etc.),  the 
dwarfs  and  the  elves,  with  whom  the  superstition  of  later 

1  See  Thor's  visit  to  Utgarda-Loki  (p.  56),  and  Loki's  pranks  to  make 
Skadi  laugh  (p.  45). 

2  See  Faye's  Norske  Sagn;    Thiele,  Danmarks   Folkesagn ;    Afzelius' 
Svenska  Folkets  Sago-Hafder ;  Grimm's  Kinder  und  Hausmarchen ;  Wolfs 
Niederlandische  Sagen  ;  the  Pentamerone  of  Basile,  etc.  etc. 


times  peopled  the  woods,  the  hills,  the  rivers  and  moun 
tain-caverns  of  the  North. 

Thus  far  I  have  spoken  solely  of  the  mythology  and 
early  traditions  of  the  three  northern  kingdoms,  and  with 
these  it  was  originally  my  intention  to  close  the  work ;  but 
at  the  suggestion  of  one,  whose  judgement  I  hold  in  no 
light  estimation,  I  was  induced  to  continue  my  labour,  by 
adding  to  it  a  selection  of  the  principal  later  popular  tra 
ditions  and  superstitions  of  Scandinavia,  North  Germany 
and  the  Netherlands;  and  thus  present  to  the  reader  a 
view  of  Germanic  mythology  and  popular  belief  from  the 
north  of  Norway  to  Belgium,  and  from  the  earliest  times 
down  to  the  present.  To  many — should  my  book,  unlike 
its  predecessors,  fortunately  fall  into  the  hands  of  many — 
this  will,  perhaps,  be  regarded  as  not  the  least  interesting 
part  of  it,  from  the  circumstance  of  its  supplying  matter 
for  comparison  with  the  popular  superstitions  and  usages  of 
our  own  country,  to  not  a  few  of  which  those  here  recorded 
will  be  found  closely  to  correspond.  To  the  ethnographer 
the  subject  cannot  be  one  of  indifference,  when  even  the 
general  reader  cannot  fail  of  being  struck  by  the  strong 
similarity  and  often  perfect  identity  of  the  traditions  and 
superstitions  current  in  countries  far  remote  from  each 
other  and  without  any  known  link  of  connection.  That 
many  of  the  traditions  and  superstitions  of  England  and 
Scotland  have  their  counterparts  in  Scandinavia  and  the 
north  of  Germany,  can  easily  be  accounted  for  by  the 
original  identity  of,  and  subsequent  intercourse,  as  friends 
or  foes,  between  the  several  nations;  but  when  we  meet 
with  a  tradition  in  the  far  North,  and  a  similar  one  not 
only  in  the  south  of  Germany,  but  in  the  south  of  France, 


and  even  in  Naples,  according  to  what  theory  of  the 
migration  of  peoples  are  we  to  explain  the  phenomenon  ? 
One  inference  may,  however,  be  drawn  with  tolerable 
certainty,  viz.  the  great  antiquity  of  many  of  these  le 
gends,  some  of  which  are,  indeed,  traceable  to  Hebrew  and 
Hindu  sources1. 

By  way  of  introduction  to  the  matter  contained  in  the 
third  volume,  I  have  given  in  the  Appendix  at  the  end  of 
this  volume,  a  brief  sketch,  chiefly  from  the  work  of  Wil 
liam  Miiller2,  of  the  old  German  mythology,  so  far  as  it 
appears  unconnected  with  the  Scandinavian. 

From  the  great  number  of  traditions  contained  in  the 
works  indicated  in  their  respective  places,  I  have  chiefly 
selected  those  that  seemed  to  spring  from  the  old  my 
thology,  or  at  least  from  an  old  mythology ;  as  many  of 
the  supernatural  beings,  of  whom  we  read  in  the  traditions 
even  of  the  three  northern  kingdoms,  are  not  to  be  found 
in  the  Odinic  system,  and  probably  never  had  a  place  in 
it;  but,  as  we  have  already  said,  were  the  divinities  of 
those  earlier  races,  who,  it  may  be  supposed,  by  intermar 
riages  with  their  Gothic  conquerors  and  a  gradual  return 
to  their  ancient  home,  contributed  in  no  small  degree  to 
form  the  great  mass  of  the  people.  Hence  the  introduc- 

1  Of  the  German  popular  superstitions  some  maybe  traced  to  the  Greek 
and  Roman  writers  :  that  of  the  Bilsen-schnitters,  for  instance  (see  p.  245), 
is  to  be  found  in  Apuleius,  and  the  same  is  probably  the  case  with  others. 
The  inference  seems  to  be,  that  such  are  not  genuine  German  superstitions, 
but  that  the  South  is  their  native  soil,  whence  they  have  been  transplanted 
to  Germany  or,  at  least,  enrolled  as  German  among  the  superstitions  of 
that  country. 

2  Geschichte  und   Systeme  der  Altdeutschen   Religion  von  Wilhelm 
Miiller.  Gottingen,  1844,  8vo,  in  which  a  great  part  of  Grimm's  Deutsche 
Mythologie  is  given  in  an  abridged  form. 


tion  among  and  adoption  by  the  later  population  of  these 
alien  objects  of  veneration  or  dread. 

To  facilitate  the  use  of  the  '  Northern  Mythology '  as 
much  as  possible  to  the  general  reader,  the  passages  quoted 
from  the  Eddas  and  Sagas  are  rendered  literally  into 
English.  Of  the  poetical  extracts  the  versions  are  allitera 
tive,  in  humble  imitation  of  the  originals. 

With  respect  to  the  orthography  adopted  in  the  My 
thology,  it  may  be  observed  that,  in  the  proper  names  of 
most  frequent  occurrence,  the  Old  Norsk  termination  r  (ri) 
of  the  nominative  masculine  (sometimes  feminine),  is,  in 
conformity  with  common  custom,  usually  omitted;  and 
d  is  generally  written  instead  of  the  old  J?  and  $  (th,  dh)  : 
as  Frey  for  Freyr,  Odin  for  OSinn,  Brynhild  for  Bryn- 
hildr.  The  Swedish  (anciently  also  Danish)  a  and  its 
Danish  equivalent  aa  are  pronounced  like  a  in  warm,  or 
oa  in  broad.  The  pronunciation  nearly  resembles  the 
German,  ^  being  pronounced  as  the  English  y,  and  g  being 
always  hard  before  i  and  e,  as  in  give,  get,  and  other 
English  words  of  Anglo-Saxon  origin. 

B.  T. 

V  The  frontispiece,  representing  the  scene  described  in  the  note  at 
p.  132,  is  from  a  copy  in  Canciani,  Leges  Barbarorum.  The  original  is 
in  a  manuscript  of  Snorri's  Edda. 



XO  every  one  who  looks  back  on  his  past  life,  it  pre 
sents  itself  rather  through  the  beautifying  glass  of  fancy, 
than  in  the  faithful  mirror  of  memory ;  and  this  is  more 
particularly  the  case  the  further  this  retrospection  pene 
trates  into  the  past,  the  more  it  loses  itself  in  obscure 
images  without  any  definite  outline,  the  more  it  approaches 
to  the  earliest  remembrances  of  childhood,  and,  in  general, 
the  more  we  strive  to  give  to  that  which  is  dark  and  half 
obliterated  renewed  life  in  our  minds.  Then  does  a  single 
incident,  which  in  reality  was  probably  of  a  very  ordinary 
character,  expand  itself  into  a  wonderful  event,  the  heart 
beats,  and  a  longing  after  the  lost  peace,  the  vanished  hap 
piness,  creates  a  dream,  a  state  which,  independent  of  man, 
has  no  existence,  yet  has  its  home  deep  in  his  breast. 
Among  nations  in  the  mass  the  same  feeling  prevails ;  they 
also  draw  a  picture  of  their  infancy  in  glittering  colours ; 
the  fewer  traditions  they  have,  the  more  they  embellish 
them ;  the  less  trustworthy  those  traditions  are,  the  more 




they  sparkle  in  the  brilliancy  which  fancy  has  lent  them, 
the  more  the  vain-glory  of  the  people  will  continue  to  che 
rish,  to  ennoble  and  diffuse  them  from  generation  to  gene 
ration,  through  succeeding  ages.  Man's  ambition  is  two 
fold  :  he  will  not  only  live  in  the  minds  of  posterity ;  he 
will  also  have  lived  in  ages  long  gone  by;  he  looks  not 
only  forwards,  but  backwards  also;  and  no  people  on 
earth  is  indifferent  to  the  fancied  honour  of  being  able  to 
trace  its  origin  to  the  gods,  and  of  being  ruled  by  an 
ancient  race. 

He  who  devotes  himself  to  delineate  the  state  of  a  people 
in  its  earliest  times,  takes  on  himself  a  task  of  difficulty. 
He  shares  with  all  his  predecessors  the  same  feeling,  by 
which  the  departed  attracts,  even,  perhaps,  because  it  is  no 
more,  the  veiy  darkness  dazzles,  because  it  is  so  black  : 
they  who  should  guide  him  are  probably  blind  themselves, 
and  of  those  who  wandered  before  him,  many  have,  no 
doubt,  taken  devious  paths. 

Every  inquiry  into  the  internal  condition  of  a  nation  must 
necessarily  turn  on  three  points :  the  land,  the  people,  and 
the  state ;  but  these  three  are  so  variously  interwoven  with 
each  other,  that  their  investigation  must  resolve  itself  into 
several  subordinate  sections  :  it  must  set  out  with  religion, 
as  the  element  which  pervades  all,  and  is  itself  pervaded  by 
all.  We  begin,  therefore,  our  undertaking  with  a  most 
difficult  inquiry,  a  view  of  the  whole  mythology  of  the 
North,  which  we  shall  consider  in  three  sections  : — I.  the 
mythic  matter,  II.  the  several  ways  in  which  it  has  been 
attempted  to  explain  it,  III.  an  attempt  at  explanation 
derived  from  the  matter  itself,  and  founded  on  the  original 



A  view  of  the  MYTHOLOGY  or  THE  NORTH  begins  with 
the  Creation.  In  the  beginning  of  time  a  world  existed  in 
the  north  called  Niflheim  (Niflheimr),  in  the  middle  of 
which  was  a  well  called  Hvergelmir,  from  which  flowed 
twelve  rivers1.  In  the  south  part  there  was  another 
world,  Muspellheim,  (Muspellzheimr) 2,  a  light  and  hot, 
a  flaming  and  radiant  world,  the  boundary  of  which  was 
guarded  by  Surt  (Surtr)  with  a  flaming  sword.  Cold  and 
heat  contended  with  each  other.  From  Niflheim  flowed 
the  poisonous  cold  streams  called  Elivagar3,  which  became 
hardened  into  ice,  so  that  one  layer  of  ice  was  piled  on 
another  in  Ginnunga-gap4,  or  the  abyss  of  abysses,  which 
faced  the  north;  but  from  the  south  issued  heat  from 
Muspellheim,  and  the  sparks  glittered  so  that  the  south 
part  of  Ginnunga-gap  was  as  light  as  the  purest  air. 
The  heat  met  the  ice,  which  melted  and  dripped;  the 
drops  then,  through  his  power  who  sent  forth  the  heat, 
received  life,  and  a  human  form  was  produced  called 
Ymir5,  the  progenitor  of  the  Frost-giants  (Hrimjmrsar), 
who  by  the  Frost-giants  is  also  called  Aurgelmir,  that  is, 
the  ancient  mass  or  chaos.  He  was  not  a  god,  but  was 
evil,  together  with  all  his  race.  As  yet  there  was  neither 

1  Their  names  are  Svavl,  GunnJ>ra,  Fiorm,  Fimbul,  pul,  Slift,  HriiS, 
Sylg,  Ylg,  Vift,  Leipt,  Gioll,  which  last  is  nearest  to  the  barred  gates  of 
Hel.    Gylfaginning,  p.  4. 

2  The  word  Muspell  has  disappeared  from  all  the  Germanic  tongues, 
except  the  Old-Saxon  and  the  Old  High  German,  where  it  signifies  fire 
at  the  destruction  of  the  world.     See  '  Heliand'  passim,  and  the  fragment 
on  the  day  of  judgement,  '  Muspilli,'  both  edited  by  Schmeller. 

3  From  el,  a  storm,  and  vagr  (pi.  vagar),  river,  wave. 

4  From  ginn,  wide,  expanded,  occurring  only  in  composition. 

5  Ym  from  ymia,  to  make  a  noise,  rush,  roar.     He  who  sent  forth  the 
heat  is  not  Surt,  who  is  only  the  guardian  of  Muspellheim,  but  a  supreme 
ineffable  being. 



sand  nor  sea  nor  cool  waves,  neither  earth  nor  grass  nor 
vaulted  heaven,  but  only  Ginnunga-gap,  the  abyss  of 
abysses.  Ymir  was  nourished  from  four  streams  of  milk, 
which  flowed  from  the  udder  of  the  cow  Audhumla  (Auft- 
humla),  a  being  that  came  into  existence  by  the  power  of 
Surt.  From  Ymir  there  came  forth  offspring  while  he 
slept :  for  having  fallen  into  a  sweat,  from  under  his  left 
arm  there  grew  a  man  and  a  woman,  and  one  of  his  feet 
begat  a  son  by  the  other.  At  this  time,  before  heaven 
and  earth  existed,  the  Universal  Father  (AlfoSr)  was 
among  the  Hrimthursar,  or  Frost-giants1. 

The  cow  Audhumla  licked  the  frost-covered  stones  that 
were  salt,  and  the  first  day,  towards  evening,  there  came 
forth  from  them  a  man's  hair,  the  second  day  a  head,  the 
third  day  an  entire  man.  He  was  called  Buri  (the  pro 
ducing)  ;  he  was  comely  of  countenance,  tall  and  powerful. 
His  son,  Bor  (the  produced),  was  married  to  Bestla  (or 
Belsta),  a  daughter  of  the  giant  Bolthorn,  and  they  had 
three  sons,  Odin  (OSinn),  Vili  and  Ve.  These  brothers 
were  gods,  and  created  heaven  and  earth2. 

Bor's  sons  slew  the  giant  Ymir,  and  there  ran  so  much 
blood  from  his  wound  that  all  the  frost-giants  were 
drowned  in  it,  except  the  giant  Bergelmir  (whose  father 
was  Thrudgelmir  (pni^gelmir),  and  whose  grandfather 
was  Aurgelmir),  who  escaped  with  his  wife  on  a  chest 
(luiSr),  and  continued  the  race  of  the  frost-giants.  But 
Bor's  sons  carried  the  body  of  Ymir  into  the  middle  of 
Ginnunga-gap,  and  formed  of  it  the  earth,  of  his  blood  the 
seas  and  waters,  of  his  bones  the  mountains,  of  his  teeth 
and  grinders  and  those  bones  that  were  broken,  they  made 
stones  and  pebbles ;  from  the  blood  that  flowed  from  his 
wounds  they  made  the  great  impassable  ocean,  in  which 

1  Gylf.  paragr.  3,  4, 5,  6.  Voluspa,  Str.  2,  3.  Vaf^rudnism.  Str.  30-33. 
HyndluljoS,  Str.  32. 

»  Gylf.  6.     Hyndluljoft,  Str.  29.     Runatals)?.  0$.  Str.  3. 


they  fixed  the  earth,  around  which  it  lies  in  a  circle ;  of 
his  skull  they  formed  the  heaven,  and  set  it  up  over  the 
earth  with  four  regions,  and  under  each  corner  placed  a 
dwarf,  the  names  of  whom  were  Austri,  Vestri,  Northri, 
Suthri;  of  his  brain  they  formed  the  heavy  clouds,  of 
his  hair  the  vegetable  creation,  and  of  his  eyebrows  a  wall 
of  defence  against  the  giants  round  Midgard  (MiJ?gar<$r), 
the  middlemost  part  of  the  earth,  the  dwelling-place  of 
the  sons  of  men1.  They  then  took  the  sparks  and  glowing 
cinders  that  were  cast  out  of  Muspellheim,  and  set  them 
in  heaven,  both  above  and  below,  to  illumine  heaven  and 
earth.  They  also  assigned  places  for  the  lightning  and 
fiery  meteors,  some  in  heaven,  and  some  unconfined  under 
heaven,  and  appointed  to  them  a  course.  Hence,  "  as  it  is 
said  in  old  philosophy,"  arose  the  division  of  years  and 
days.  Thus  Bor's  sons  raised  up  the  heavenly  disks,  and 
the  sun  shone  on  the  cold  stones,  so  that  the  earth  was 
decked  with  green  herbs.  The  sun  from  the  south  fol 
lowed  the  moon,  and  cast  her2  right  arm  round  the  hea 
venly  horses'  door  (the  east) ;  but  she  knew  not  where  her 
dwelling  lay,  the  moon  knew  not  his  power,  nor  did  the 
stars  know  where  they  had  a  station.  Then  the  holy  gods 
consulted  together,  and  gave  to  every  light  its  place,  and  a 
name  to  the  new  moon  (Nyi),  and  to  the  waning  moon 
(Ni)?i),  and  gave  names  to  the  morning  and  the  mid-day,  to 
the  forenoon  (undern)  and  the  evening,  that  the  children 
of  men,  sons  of  time,  might  reckon  the  years  thereafter3. 

Night  (Nott)  and  Day  (Dagr)  were  of  opposite  races. 
Night,  of  giant  race,  was  dark,  like  her  father,  the  giant 
Norvi  (or  Narfi).  She  was  first  married  to  Naglfari,  and 
had  by  him  a  son  named  Aud  (Au$r) ;  secondly  to  Anar 

i  See  p.  10. 

8  In  the  Germanic  tongues  the  sun  is  feminine,  the  moon  masculine. 
3  Gylf.  7,  8.     Voluspa,  Str.  4,  5,  6.     Vatyruduism.  Str.  20,21,  29,  35. 
Grimnism.  Str.  40,  41. 


(or  Onar);  their  daughter  was  Earth  (I6Y3) ;  lastly  to 
Belling,  who  was  of  the  race  of  the  ^Esir,  and  their  son  was 
Day,  who  was  fair,  bright  and  beautiful,  through  his  pa 
ternal  descent.  All-father  took  Night  and  Day,  and  gave 
them  two  horses  and  two  cars,  and  placed  them  in  heaven, 
that  they  might  ride  successively,  in  twenty-four  hours' 
time,  round  the  earth.  Night  rides  first  with  her  horse 
which  is  named  Hrimfaxi,  that  bedews  the  earth  each  morn 
with  the  drops  from  his  bit.  He  is  also  called  Fiorsvart- 
nir1.  The  horse  belonging  to  Day  is  called  Skinfaxi,  from 
whose  shining  mane  light  beams  forth  over  heaven  and 
earth.  He  is  also  called  Glad  (GlaSr)  and  Drosul.  The 
Moon  and  the  Sun  are  brother  and  sister;  they  are  the 
children  of  Mundilfori,  who,  on  account  of  their  beauty, 
called  his  son  Mani,  and  his  daughter  Sol ;  for  which  pre 
sumption  the  gods  in  their  anger  took  brother  and  sister 
and  placed  them  in  heaven,  and  appointed  Sol  to  drive  the 
horses  that  draw  the  chariot  of  the  sun,  which  the  gods 
had  formed,  to  give  light  to  the  world,  of  the  sparks  from 
Muspellheim.  Sol  was  married  to  a  man  named  Glen 
(Glenur,  Glanur),  and  has  to  her  car  the  horses  Arvakur 
(the  watchful),  and  Alsvith  (the  rapid),  under  whose 
shoulders  the  gods  placed  an  ice-cold  breeze  to  cool  them. 
Svalin  (the  cooling)  is  the  name  of  a  shield  that  stands 
before  the  sun,  which  would  else  set  waves  and  mountains 
on  fire.  Mani  directs  the  course  of  the  moon,  and  regu 
lates  Nyi  and  Nithi.  He  once  took  up  two  children  from 
the  earth,  Bil  and  Hiuki  (Hviki),  as  they  were  going  from 
the  well  of  Byrgir,  bearing  on  their  shoulders  the  bucket 
Sseg,  and  the  pole  Simul.  Their  father  was  Vidfinn ;  they 
follow  Mani,  as  may  be  observed  from  the  earth.  There 
are  also  two  wolves  to  be  mentioned,  one  of  which,  named 
Skoll,  follows  the  sun,  and  which  she  fears  will  swallow 

1  Finn  Magnusen  considers  Fib'rsvartnir  as  the  name  of  a  second  horse 
belonging  to  Night,  and  so  of  Glad.  Lex.  Myth,  sub  voce. 


her;  the  other  called  Hati,  the  son  of  Hrodvitnir,  runs 
before  the  sun,  and  strives  to  seize  on  the  moon  *,  and  so 
in  the  end  it  will  be.  The  mother  of  these  wolves  is  a 
giantess,  who  dwells  in  a  wood  to  the  east  of  Midgard, 
called  Jarnvid  (JarnvrSr),  in  which  those  female  demons 
(trollkonur)  dwell  called  Jarnvids  (JarnvrSjur) .  She 
brought  forth  many  sons,  who  are  giants,  and  all  in  the 
form  of  wolves.  One  of  this  race,  named  Managarm,  is 
said  to  be  the  most  powerful ;  he  will  be  sated  with  the 
lives  of  all  dying  persons ;  he  will  swallow  up  the  moon, 
and  thereby  besprinkle  both  heaven  and  air  with  blood. 
Then  will  the  sun  lose  its  brightness,  and  the  winds  rage 
and  howl  in  all  directions,  as  it  is  said2 : — 

Eastward  sat  the  crone 

in  the  iron  wood, 

and  there  brought  forth 

Fenrir's  offspring. 

Of  these  shall  be 

one  worse  than  all, 

the  moon's  devourer 

in  a  demon's  guise. 

Fill'd  shall  he  be 

with  the  fated's  lives, 

the  gods'  abode 

with  the  red  blood  shall  stain. 

Then  shall  the  summer's 

sun  be  darken' d, 

all  wreather  turn  to  storm. 

The  father  of  Winter  (Vetur)  was  called  Vindsval,  of 
Summer  (Sumar),  Svasud  (Svasuftr).  Both  shall  reign 
every  year  until  the  gods  pass  away.  At  the  end  of  heaven 

1  That  wolves  follow  the  sun  and  moon,  is  a  wide-spread  popular  super 
stition.     In  Swedish  solvarg  (sun-wolf)  signifies  a  parhelion.    Petersen. 
Nor.  Myth.  p.  76. 

2  Vbluspa,  Str.  32,  33. 


sits  the  giant  Hrsesvelg,  in  an  eagle's  garb  (arna  ham) l. 
From  the  motion  of  his  wings  comes  the  wind  which  passes 
over  men2. 

Thus  the  first  created  beings  were  Ymir  and  his  race, 
the  giants ;  next  were  the  gods,  who  created  heaven  and 
earth ;  for  not  until  these  were  in  existence,  and  ready  as 
places  of  abode  for  living  beings,  were  the  dwarfs  and 
human  race  created3. 

The  mighty  gods,  or  JEsir4,  assembled  on  Ida's  plain 
(LSavollr)  in  the  middle  of  their  city  Asgard.  There  they 
first  erected  a  court  (hof),  wherein  were  seats  for  all  the 
twelve,  and  a  high  seat  for  All-father ;  also  a  lofty  burgh 
or  hall  (havrgr)  for  the  goddesses,  called  Vingolf.  They 
then  constructed  a  smithy,  made  hammers,  tongs,  anvils 
and,  in  fine,  all  other  requisite  implements.  There  they 
worked  in  metal,  stone  and  wood,  and  so  extensively  in  the 
metal  called  gold,  that  all  their  household  gear  was  formed 
of  it,  whence  that  age  was  called  the  Golden  Age.  This 
lasted  until  it  was  corrupted  by  the  women  that  came  from 
Jotunheim,  or  the  giants'  world,  as  it  is  said5: — 
The  JSsir  met 
on  Ida's  plain, 

1  The  Shetlanders  of  the  present  day  are  said  by  Scott,  in  his  '  Pirate,' 
to  adjure  the  wind  under  the  form  of  an  eagle. 

2  Gylf.  10,  11.    Vafbrudnism.  Str.  12,  14,  22-27,  37.     Grimnism.  Str. 
37,  38.     Skaldsk.  58. 

3  Both  giants  and  dwarfs  shun  the  light.    If  surprised  by  the  breaking 
forth  of  day,  they  become  changed  to  stone.     In  the  Alvismal,  Ving-Thor 
amuses  the  dwarf  Alvis  with  various  questions  till  daylight,  and  then 
coolly  says  to  him,  "  With  great  artifices,  I  tell  thee,  thou  hast  been  de 
ceived  ;  thou  art  surprised  here,  dwarf !  by  daylight :  the  sun  now  shines 
in  the  hall."     In  the  Helga  Kvi>a  Hadinga  Ska>a  also,  Atli  says  to  the 
giantess  (nicker)  Hnmgerd :  "  It  is  now  day,  Hrimgerd  !    But  Atli  hath 
detained  thee  to  thy  life's  perdition.     It  will  appear  a  laughable  harbour- 
mark,  where  thou  standest  as  a  stone-image."     Saemund's  Edda,  pp.  51, 

4  jEsir,  pi.  of  As.  5  Voluspa,  Str.  7,  8. 


altars  and  temples 
upraised  high, 
furnaces  constructed, 
forged  precious  things, 
fashion'd  tongs, 
and  fabricated  tools. 
At  dice  they  played 
in  their  dwelling  joyful ; 
rich  too  they  were 
in  ruddy  gold, 
until  thither  three 
Thurs-maidens  came 
from  Jotunheim. 

Then  the  gods  sitting  on  their  thrones  held  counsel.  They 
considered  how  the  dwarfs  had  been  quickened  in  the 
mould  down  in  the  earth,  like  maggots  in  a  dead  body ] : 
for  the  dwarfs  had  been  first  created2,  and  received  life  in 
the  carcase  of  Ymir,  and  were  then  maggots ;  but  now,  by 
the  decree  of  the  gods,  they  received  human  understanding 
and  human  bodies,  though  they  dwell  in  the  earth  and  in 
stones3.  Modsognir  (Moftsognir)  was  the  chief,  the  second 
Durin,  as  it  is  said  in  the  Voluspa4: — "  The  holy  gods  deli 
berated  who  should  create  the  race  of  dwarfs,  from  Ymir's 
blood  and  livid  (blue)  bones."  The  dwarfs  of  Lofar^s  race 
betook  themselves  from  the  Rocky  Hall  (Salar-Steinn)  over 
the  earth-field's  regions  (Aurvangur)  to  Jora's  plains  (J6- 

1  For  hold,  body,  dead  carcase,  some  MSS.  read  blo>i,  blood. 

2  According  to  Snorri's  Edda  the  dwarfs  were  created  after  mankind, 
while  in  the  other  Edda  it  is  the  reverse. 

3  In  the  German  tales  the  dwarfs  are  described  as  deformed  and  dimi 
nutive,  coarsely  clad  and  of  dusky  hue :  "  a  little  black  man ;"  "  a  little  grey 
man."   They  are  sometimes  described  of  the  height  of  a  child  of  four  years ; 
sometimes  as  two  spans  high,  a  thumb  high  (hence  Tom  Thumb).   The  old 
Danish  ballad  of  Eline  af  Villenskov  mentions  a  '  trold '  not  bigger  than 
an  ant.  Danske  Viser,  i.  p.  1 76.    Dvergmal  (the  speech  of  the  dwarfs)  is  the 
Old  Norse  expression  for  the  echo  in  the  mountains.  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  421. 

4  Str.  10. 

B  5 


ruvellir)1.  Their  several  names  bear  allusion  to  the  sub 
ordinate  powers  of  nature  in  the  mineral  and  vegetable 
kingdoms,  and  express  the  operating  power  which  pene 
trates  the  soil,,  the  veins  of  stone,  the  sap  of  plants ;  also 
the  cold  and  heat,  the  light  and  the  colours  which  are 
thereby  produced2. 

Men  came  into  existence  when  three  mighty,  benevolent 
gods,  Odin,  Hoenir  and  Lodur  (Loftur)3,  left  the  assembly 
to  make  an  excursion.  On  the  earth  they  found  Ask  and 
Embla  (ash  and  elm  ?),  with  little  power  and  without  de 
stiny  :  spirit  they  had  not,  nor  sense,  nor  blood,  nor  power 
of  motion,  nor  fair  colour.  Odin  gave  them  spirit  (breath), 
Hoenir  sense,  Lodur  blood  and  fair  colour.  Somewhat  less 
circumstantially,  though  illustratively,  it  is  related  in 
Snorri's  Edda,  that  BbYs  sons  (Odin,  Vili  and  Ve)  walking 
on  the  sea-shore  found  two  trees,  which  they  took  up,  and 
created  men  of  them.  The  first  gave  them  spirit  and  life ; 
the  second,  understanding  and  power  of  motion ;  the  third, 
aspect,  speech,  hearing  and  sight4.  The  man  they  called 
Ask,  the  woman  Embla.  From  this  pair  the  whole  human 
race  is  descended,  to  whom  a  dwelling  wras  assigned  in 

EARTH  AND  HEAVEN. — The  earth  is  flat  and  round; 
about  it  is  the  deep  ocean.  Outermost  of  all,  around 
the  shore,  is  the  giants'  abode,  Jotunheim  or  Utgard, 

1  In  the  later  popular  belief  the  dwarfs  are  generally  called  the  subter 
raneans,  the  brown  men  in  the  moor,  etc.     They  make  themselves  invisible 
by  a  hat  or  hood.     The  women  spin  and  weave,  the  men  are  smiths.     In 
Norway  rock-crystal  is  called  dwarf-stone  (dvaergsten).    Certain  stones  are 
in  Denmark  called  dwarf-hammers  (dvserghamre).     They  borrow  things 
and  seek  advice  from  people,  and  beg  aid  for  their  wives  when  in  labour, 
all  which  services  they  reward.    But  they  also  lame  cattle,  are  thievish  and 
will  carry  off  damsels.    There  have  been  instances  of  dwarf  females  having 
married  and  had  children  by  men.     Petersen,  Nor.  Myth.  p.  109. 

2  Gylf.  14.     Voluspa,  Str.  7-16. 

3  Connected  with  Ger.  lodern,  to  flame,  blaze. 

4  Gylf.  9.    Voluspa,  Str.  15,16. 


against  whose  attacks  the  gods  raised  a  bulwark  within, 
around  Midgard,  formed  of  Ymir's  eyebrows1.  In  the 
middle  of  the  world,  and  on  the  highest  spot,  dwell  the 
^Esir,  in  Asgard,  where  All-father  Odin  established  rulers, 
who  with  himself  should  preside  over  the  burgh  and  the 
destinies  of  men.  There  is  the  largest  and  noblest  of  all 
dwellings,  Gladsheim  (Gla^sheimr),  and  another,  roofed 
with  silver,  called  Valaskialf,  which  Odin,  in  the  beginning 
of  time,  curiously  constructed,  and  from  the  throne  in 
which  (Hlidskialf)  he  looks  out  over  all  worlds,  and  learns 
the  doings  of  all  creatures.  "  At  the  world's  southern  end 
there  is  a  hall,  the  fairest  of  all  and  brighter  than  the  sun, 
which  is  called  Gimli.  That  will  stand  when  both  heaven 
and  earth  are  past  away,  and  good  and  upright  men  will 
inhabit  that  place  to  all  eternity.  It  is,  moreover,  said  that 
there  is  another  heaven  to  the  south,  above  this,  which  is 
called  Andlang,  and  a  third  still  higher  called  Vidblain 
(VrSblainn),  in  which  last  we  believe  this  hall  to  be ;  but 
we  believe  that  only  the  Light  Elves  now  inhabit  those 
places."  In  another  hall,  as  we  have  already  seen,  is  the 
abode  of  the  goddesses,  which  men  call  Vingolf.  Between 
the  giants  and  the  gods  flows  the  river  Ifing,  on  which  ice 
never  comes.  From  Midgard  to  Asgard  leads  the  bridge 
Bifrost  (the  quaking  space),  known  to  mortals  as  the  rain 
bow  :  it  has  three  colours.  The  most  sacred  place  or  seat 
of  the  gods  is  by  the  ash  Yggdrasil,  where  they  daily  sit  in 
judgement.  Yggdrasil  is  the  largest  and  best  of  trees  ;  its 
branches  spread  themselves  over  the  whole  world,  and  tower 
up  above  the  heavens.  It  has  three  roots  which  reach  far 
and  wide.  Under  one  of  them  is  the  abode  of  Hel,  the 
goddess  of  the  dead;  under  the  second  dwell  the  frost- 
giants  ;  under  the  third,  human  beings.  Or,  according  to 
the  prose  Edda,  the  first  root  reaches  to  the^Esir;  the  second 
to  the  frost-giants,  where  was  formerly  Ginnunga-gap, 
1  See  p.  4. 


while  the  third  stands  over  Niflheim,  under  which  is  Hver- 
gelniir.  This  root  is  constantly  gnawed  from  beneath  by 
the  serpent  Nidhogg  (NrShb'ggr).  Under  the  second  root 
is  Mimir's  well,  in  which  wisdom  and  genius  are  concealed. 
Mimir,  the  owner  of  the  well,  is  full  of  wisdom,  because 
he  drinks  every  morning  of  the  well  from  the  horn  Gioll 
(Giallar-horn) .  All-father  once  came,  and  craved  a  draught 
from  the  well,  but  got  it  not  before  he  had  given  an  eye  as 
a  pledge ;  whence  it  is  said  that  Mimir  drinks  mead  every 
morning  from  Valfather's  pledge.  Under  the  root  which 
reaches  to  the  ^Esir's  abode,  is  the  sacred  fountain  of  Urd 
(UHSr),  where  the  gods  sit  in  judgement.  Every  day  the 
JEtsir  ride  thither  over  Bifrost,  which  is  likewise  called  the 
^Esir-bridge  (Asbru) .  The  names  of  the  ^Esir's  horses  are 
as  follow  :  Sleipnir,  which  is  the  best,  and  belongs  to  Odin, 
has  eight  legs,  Glad  (Glaftr),  Gyllir,  Gler,  Skeidbrimir 
(SkerSbrimir),  Silfrintop  (Silfrintoppr),  Sinir,  Gils,  Fal- 
hofnir,  Gulltop  (Gulltoppr),  Lettfeti.  Baldur's  horse  was 
burnt  with  him,  and  Thor  walks  to  the  meeting,  and  wades 
through  the  rivers  Kormt  and  Ormt,  and  the  two  Kerlaugs, 
else  the  ^Esir's  bridge  would  be  in  a  blaze,  and  the  sacred 
water  boil.  By  the  well  of  Urd  there  stands,  under  the 
ash -tree,  a  fair  hall,  from  which  go  three  maidens,  Urd, 
Verdandi,  and  Skulld1  (past  time,  present  time,  and  future 
time) .  They  are  called  Noras  (Nornir) ;  they  grave  on 
the  tablet  (shield),  determine  the  life,  and  fix  the  destiny 
of  the  children  of  men.  But  besides  these  there  are 
other  Norns,  viz.  those  that  are  present  at  the  birth  of 
every  child,  to  determine  its  destiny.  These  are  of  the 
race  of  the  gods,  while  some  others  are  of  elf-race,  and 
others  of  the  dwarf-kin,  or  daughters  of  Dvalin.  The  good 
Norns  and  those  of  good  descent  allot  good  fortune ;  and 
when  men  fall  into  misfortunes,  it  is  to  be  ascribed  to  the 
evil  Norns.  Mention  occurs  of  the  dogs  of  the  Norns. 
1  Skulld  the  youngest  of  the  Norns,  is  also  a  Valkyria.  Gylf.  36. 


In  the  branches  of  the  tree  Yggdrasil  sits  an  eagle  that 
knows  many  things.  Between  his  eyes  sits  the  hawk  Ve- 
durfolnir.  The  squirrel  Ratatosk  runs  up  and  down  the 
tree,  and  bears  rancorous  words  between  the  eagle  and  the 
serpent  Nidhogg.  Four  harts  run  among  the  boughs  and 
bite  its  buds ;  their  names  are,  Dain,  Dvalin,  Dunneyr  and 
Durathror.  In  Hvergelmir,  under  Yggdrasil,  there  are  so 
many  serpents,  besides  Nidhogg,  that  no  tongue  may  tell 
them,  as  it  is  said1 : — 

Yggdrasil' s  ash 
evil  suffers 

more  than  men  know  of : 
at  the  side  it  moulders, 
a  hart  gnaws  it  above, 
Nidhogg  beneath  tears  it. 
Under  Yggdrasil  lie 
unnumber'd  snakes, 
more  than  mindless 
men  can  conceive. 

Those  Norns  that  dwell  by  the  well  of  Urd  take  water 
every  day  from  the  spring,  which,  with  the  mud  that  lies 
about  it,  they  pour  over  the  ash,  that  its  branches  may  not 
rot  and  perish.  This  water  is  so  sacred,  that  everything 
that  enters  it  becomes  as  white  as  the  film  of  an  egg-shell, 
as  it  is  said  in  the  Voluspa : — 

An  ash  I  know 
Yggdrasil  named, 
A  branchy  tree,  bedew'd 
With  brightest  water. 
Thence  come  the  dews 
into  the  dales  that  fall : 
ever  stands  it  flourishing 
o'er  Urda's  fountain. 

The  dew  that  falls  from  its  branches  on  the  earth  is  by 
men  called  honey-dew,  and  is  the  food  of  bees.  Two  birds 

1  Grimnismal,  Str.  34,  35. 


are  fed  in  the  well  of  Urd,  called  swans,  and  from  them 
descend  the  birds  of  that  species1. 

WAR. — "  It  was  the  first  warfare  in  the  world  when  they 
(men)  pierced  Gullveig  through  with  a  spear,  and  burned 
her  in  the  High  one's  (Odin's)  hall2.  Thrice  they  burned 
her,  thrice  she  was  born  anew :  again  and  again,  but  she 
still  lives.  When  she  comes  to  a  house,  they  call  her 
Heidi  (the  bright,  the  welcome),  and  regard  her  as  a  pro 
pitious  'vala'  or  prophetess.  She  can  tame  wolves,  under 
stands  witchcraft  (seiSr),  and  delights  wicked  women.  Here 
upon  the  gods  consulted  together,  whether  they  should 
punish  this  misdeed,  or  accept  a  blood-fine;  when  Odin 
cast  forth  a  spear  among  the  people  (mankind),  and  now 
began  war  and  slaughter  in  the  world.  The  ^Esir-burgh's 
defences  were  broken  down.  The  Vanir  anticipated  war, 
and  hastened  over  the  field.  The  Valkyriur  (choosers  of 
those  doomed  to  fall)  came  from  afar,  ready  to  ride  to  the 
gods'  people  :  Skulld  with  the  shield,  Skogul,  Gunn,  Hild, 
Gondul,  and  Geir-Skogul.  These  were  Odin's  maidens, 
the  Valkyriur,  ready  to  ride  over  the  earth3,  whom  he  sends 
to  every  battle-field,  there  to  choose  those  that  shall  fall, 
and  decide  the  victory.  Surrounded  by  lightnings,  with 
bloody  corselets  and  radiant  spears,  they  ride  through  the 
air  and  on  the  ocean.  When  their  horses  shake  their 
manes,  dew  falls  in  the  deep  valleys  and  hail  in  the  high 

The  .ZEsir  and  the  Vanir  made  peace,  and  reciprocally 
gave  hostages.  The  Vanir  gave  to  the  ^Esir  Niord  the 
Rich,  whom  the  wise  powers  had  created  in  Vanaheim, 

1  Gylf.  9,  14-17.     Voluspa,  Str.  19-22,  31.     Vaf)>rudnism.  Str.  15,  16. 
Grimnism.  Str.  6,  31-35.     Fafnism.  Str.  13.    Hamftsm.  Str.  30. 

2  The  world. 

3  Voluspa,  Str.  24-28.    I  read  the  strophes  in  the  following  order : 
26,  25,  27,  28,  24.— P. 

4  Gylf.  36.     Helgakv.  Hadinga  Sk.  28.     Helgakv.  Hundb.  1,  15. 


together  with  his  children,  Frey  and  Freyia.  The 
on  their  part,  gave  Hoenir,  and  sent  him  with  Mimir,  for 
whom  in  return  they  received  Kvasir,  the  most  prudent 
among  the  Vanir.  Hoenir  was  raised  to  the  chieftainship 
over  the  Vanir  ;  but  in  all  assemblies  where  good  counsel 
was  required,  Mimir  was  obliged  to  whisper  to  Hoenir 
everything  he  should  say  ;  and  in  his  absence,  Hoenir  con 
stantly  answered,  "  yes,  consult  now  ye  others/'  The  Vanir 
hereupon,  thinking  themselves  deceived,  slew  Mimir,  and 
sent  his  head  to  the  ^Esir,  which  Odin  so  prepared  with 
herbs  and  incantations,  that  it  spoke  to  him,  and  told  him 
many  hidden  things1. 

THE  GODS.  —  There  are  twelve  principal  ^Esir,  besides 
All-father  (Al-fo$r)  or  Odin,  who  has  his  own  throne2. 

The  highest  among  the  gods  is  ODIN*.  He  is  called  All- 
father,  because  he  is  the  father  of  all,  gods  and  men  ;  also 
Valfather,  because  all  the  free  that  fall  in  battle  belong  to 
him.  They  are  received  into  Valhall  and  Vingolf,  and  are 
called  Einheriar4.  But  in  the  old  Asgard  he  had  twelve 
names,  and  has  besides  many  others5,  every  people  having 

1  Ynglingas.  c.  4.     Gylf.  23.     ValJ>rudnism.  Str.  39.     Lokaglepsa,  Str. 
34,  35.     Grimnism.  Str.  50. 

2  Gylf.  14.  20. 

3  In  Norway  Thor  was  regarded  as  the  principal  deity.     In  the  great 
temple  at  Upsala  his  image  occupied  the  second  place.   (Might  it  not  have 
been  the  centre  ?)     Among  the  Swedes  the  worship  of  Frey  seems  chiefly 
to  have  been  followed.     The  Danes,  Gothlanders  and  Saxons  appear  to 
have  been  addicted  to  the  worship  of  Odin  (Woden).  Grimm,  D.M.  p.  146. 
In  the  Sagas  Thor  is  usually  named  before  Odin.    Ib.  p.  147.     Associated 
with  Har  and  Jafnhar,  Odin  appears  under  the  denomination  of  Thrithi 
(Third).    Snorra  Edda,  p.  3.     In  the  Grimnismal  he  assigns  to  himself  all 
the  three  names.    Edda  Ssem.  p.  46. 

4  Gylf.  20.     Bragara3$ur,  55.     Hyndlulj.  Str.  28.     Asaheiti  in  Snorra- 
Edda,  p.  211. 

5  His  other  names  were  Herran  or  Herian,  Nikar  or  Hnikar,  Nikuz  or 
Hnikuft,  Fiolnir,  Oski,  Omi,  Biflifti  or  Biflindi,  Sviftor,  Svi>rir,  Vi>rir,  Jalg 
or  Jalkr.     He  is  also  called  Drauga  drottin,  lord  of  spectres.     Ynglingas. 


given  him  a  peculiar  one1.  In  other  words,  his  agency  in 
heaven  and  earth  is  so  great  and  manifold,  that  it  is  ex 
pressed  by  so  many  various  names :  as  examples  may  be 
cited,  Alda-gautr2  and  Alda-fo$r,  creator  and  father  of  men  • 
Vera-tyr,  god  of  men ;  Val-f6$r,  father  of  the  slain,  because 
those  that  fell  in  battle  came  to  him;  Sig-fo^r  or  Seier-foiSr, 
father  of  victory;  Herian,  devastator;  Sid-hat  (Sr3-hottr), 
broad-hat;  Sid-skegg  (Sr3-skeggr),  ample-beard;  Hanga- 
gud,  Hanga-tyr,  god  or  lord  of  the  hanged,  because  the 
hanged  were  thought  to  belong  to  him3.  Other  names 
assumed  by  Odin  are  : — 

1.  Gangrad  (Gangraftr,  GagnraSr),  under  which  he  paid 
a  visit  to  the  giant  Vafthrudnir,  the  object  and  particulars 
of  which  form  the  subject  of  the  eddaic  poem,  Vaf]?rudnis- 
mal,  and  are  as  follow  : — 

Odin  imparts  to  his  wife  Frigg,  that  he  is  seized  with  a 
strong  desire  to  visit  the  all-wise  giant  Yafthrudnir,  for  the 
purpose  of  contending  with  him  in  the  wisdom  of  ancient 
times.  Frigg  endeavours  to  dissuade  him  from  the  journey, 
in  the  belief  that  no  one  is  able  to  contend  with  Vaf- 
thrudnir.  Odin  then  reminds  her  of  his  numerous  wander 
ings  and  trials,  and  persists  in  his  resolve  to  see  the  ha 
bitation  of  the  giant ;  whereupon  Frigg  wishes  him  a 
pleasant  journey  and  safe  return,  and  prays  that  his  saga 
city  may  prove  sufficient  in  his  trial  of  words.  Odin  then 
departs,  and  arrives  at  the  hall  of  the  giant,  in  the  guise 
of  a  traveller,  and  under  the  name  of  Gangrad.  Here  he 
greets  the  giant,  and  tells  him  the  object  of  his  coming. 
Vafthrudnir  answers  rather  angrily,  and  gives  him  to  un- 

1  Odin  could  change  his  form :  his  body  would  lie  as  dead  or  asleep, 
while  he,  as  a  bird  or  beast,  fish  or  serpent,  would  in  an  instant  pass  into 
other  lands.     Ynglingas.  c.  7. 

2  From  alda(of  men),  and  gauta  (creator,  caster),  from  gjota,  gaut,  to 
cant  (metal).     Prof.  Munch,  cited  by  Petersen. 

3  Connected  probably  with  the  myth  of  his  having  hung  nine  nights  on 
a  tree.     Hrafn.  OSins. 


derstand,  that  if  he  prove  the  less  wise  of  the  two,  he  shall 
not  leave  the  hall  alive.  Odin  then  informs  his  antagonist 
that,  after  a  long  journey,  he  is  come  thirsty  (after  wisdom?) 
to  his  mansion,  and  in  need  of  a  good  reception,  whereupon 
the  giant  desires  him  to  sit,  and  the  contest  begins.  The 
giant  then  proposes  that  their  contest  shall  be  head  for 
head,  and  all  goes  on  smoothly,  each  answering  the  other's 
questions  satisfactorily,  until  Gangrad  asks  what  Odin 
whispered  in  the  ear  of  Baldur  before  the  latter  was  laid 
on  the  pile.  Startled  the  giant  now  exclaims  :  "  No  one 
knows  what  thou,  in  the  beginning  of  time,  didst  whisper 
to  thy  son.  With  death  on  my  lips  have  I  interpreted  the 
wisdom  of  old  and  the  fate  of  the  gods  ;  with  Odin  have  I 
contended,  with  the  wise  speaker :  ever  art  thou  wisest  of 
all  I" 

The  questions  are  entirely  of  a  cosmogonic  or  mytho- 
logic  nature,  as  may  be  seen  by  the  numerous  quotations 
from  the  poem  in  the  course  of  this  section  of  the  present 

2.  Grimnir.  Why  Odin  assumed  this  appellation  will 
be  seen  in  the  following  story,  being  the  prose  introduction 
to  the  eddaic  poem,  Grimnismal. 

"  King  Hrodung  (Hrojmngr)  had  two  sons,  one  named 
Agnar,  the  other  Geirrod  (GeirroSr).  Agnar  was  ten,  and 
Geirrod  eight  years  old.  They  once  rowed  out  in  a  boat, 
with  hook  and  line,  to  catch  small  fish,  but  the  wind  drove 
them  out  to  sea.  In  the  darkness  of  the  night  they  were 
wrecked  on  the  sea-shore,  and  went  on  land,  where  they 
met  with  a  small  farmer,  with  whom  they  passed  the  win 
ter.  The  farmer's  wife  brought  up  Agnar,  but  the  farmer 
himself  took  charge  of  Geirrod,  and  gave  him  good  advice. 
In  the  spring  the  farmer  gave  them  a  vessel,  and  he  and 
his  wife  accompanied  them  down  to  the  shore,  where  the 
farmer  had  a  long  conversation  alone  with  Geirrod.  A 
favourable  wind  soon  bore  them  to  their  father's  dwelling. 


Geirrod,  who  was  foremost  in  the  boat,  sprang  on  shore, 
and  pushed  the  boat  out  to  sea,  saying,  '  Go  hence  in  the 
power  of  the  evil  spirits 3  (smyl) .  He  then  went  home  to 
his  paternal  habitation,  where  he  was  received  with  wel 
come,  and  his  father  being  dead,  was  made  king,  and 
attained  to  considerable  reputation. 

"  Odin  and  Frigg  were  sitting  in  Hlidskialf,  and  looking 
over  the  whole  world,  when  Odin  said,  f  Seest  thou  thy 
foster-son  Agnar,  how  he  passes  his  time  in  dalliance  with 
a  giantess  in  a  cave,  while  Geirrod,  my  foster-son,  is  a  king 
ruling  over  the  land  ?'  Frigg  answered,  '  He  is  so  inhos 
pitable,  that  he  tortures  his  guests,  when  he  thinks  they 
are  too  numerous/  Odin  said  that  this  was  the  greatest 
of  falsehoods.  They  then  laid  a  wager,  and  Odin  resolved 
on  a  visit  to  Geirrod.  Frigg  now  sent  her  confidential 
attendant,  Fulla,  to  Geirrod,  to  advise  him  to  be  on  his 
guard,  lest  the  wizard  that  had  arrived  in  his  country 
should  cause  his  destruction,  adding,  as  a  token  whereby 
to  know  him,  that  no  dog,  however  fierce,  would  attack 
him.  That  King  Geirrod  was  not  hospitable,  was  mere 
idle  talk,  he  nevertheless  caused  the  man  to  be  seized  that 
the  dogs  would  not  assail.  He  was  clad  in  a  grey  fur,  and 
called  himself  Grimnir,  but  would  give  no  further  account 
of  himself,  although  questioned,  To  extort  a  confession, 
the  king  had  him  tortured,  by  placing  him  between  two 
fires,  where  he  sat  during  eight  days.  Geirrod  had  a  son 
of  ten  years,  named  Agnar  after  his  uncle.  This  youth 
went  to  Grimnir  and  gave  him  a  hornful  of  drink,  saying 
that  his  father  had  acted  unjustly  in  causing  an  innocent 
person  to  be  tortured.  The  fire  had  by  this  time  ap 
proached  so  near  that  Grimnir's  fur  was  singed."  He  then 
sang  the  mytho-cosmogonic  song  called  Grimnismal,  in 
which  he  enumerates  and  describes  the  habitations  of  the 
twelve  chief  ^Esir,  of  which  further  notice  will  be  found 
hereafter.  The  remainder  of  the  poem  consists  of  mytho- 


logical  matter,  the  substance  of  which  is  to  be  found  inter 
spersed  throughout  the  present  work.  The  end  of  the 
story  is  as  follows  : — 

"  King  Geirrod  was  sitting  with  his  sword  half-drawn 
across  his  knees,  when  he  heard  that  it  was  Odin  that  was 
come,  whereupon  he  rose  for  the  purpose  of  removing  him 
from  the  fire,  when  his  sword  slipt  from  his  hand,  in  en 
deavouring  to  recover  which,  he  fell  forwards,  and  was 
pierced  through  with  the  weapon.  Odin  then  vanished, 
and  Agnar  reigned  in  his  father's  stead." 

3.  Vegtam  (viator  indefessus) . — Under  this  denomination 
Odin  goes  to  consult  the  spirit  of  a  '  vala '  that  lies  buried 
near  the  gate  of  HePs  abode,  respecting  the  fate  of  Bal- 
dur.     The  substance  of  this  poem  is  given  in  the  present 
work ] . 

4.  Hdr,  Jafnhdr,  Thrithi  (High,  Even-high,  Third)  under 
which  denomination  he  appears  in  Snorri's  Edda  as  a  sort 
of  northern  trinity.     In  Grimnismal  he  assigns  all  these 
names  to  himself. 

He  was  called  Hrafna-gud,  (the  ravens'  god),  because  he 
has  two  ravens,  Hugin  and  Munin,  which  he  sends  forth 
over  the  wide  world  to  get  intelligence  :  when  they  return, 
they  sit  on  his  shoulders,  and  tell  him  all  they  have  seen 
and  heard.  But  he  is  anxious  on  account  of  Hugin,  fear 
ing  he  will  not  return,  and  still  more  so  for  Munin.  As 
creator  of  heaven  and  earth,  Odin  rules  and  orders  all 
things :  he  gives  victory  and  riches,  eloquence  and  under 
standing,  the  skaldic  or  poetic  art,  manliness  and  fair 

Odin's  abode  is,  as  we  have  said,  named  Gladsheim 
(GlaSsheimr),  with  its  hall  Valhall  (Valholl)  radiant  with 

1  There  is  a  beautiful  paraphrase  of  it  by  Gray,  under  the  title  of  "  The 
Descent  of  Odin." 

2  Gylf.  20,  38.    Vegtaraskv.  Str.  6.    Vafj?rudnism.  Str.  4.     Grimnism. 
Str.  20,  46-50,  54.     Hyndlulj.  Str.  2,  3. 


gold,  where  lie  daily  receives  those  that  fall  in  arms.  The 
halFs  ceiling  is  formed  of  spears,  it  is  roofed  with  shields, 
and  the  benches  are  strewed  with  coats  of  mail ;  before 
the  west  door  hangs  a  wolf,  and  over  him  an  eagle  hovers. 
It  is  surrounded  by  a  roaring  river  called  Thund1,  and 
before  it  is  a  paling  or  lattice  named  Valgrind.  It  has  five 
hundred  and  forty  gates,  through  each  of  which  eight 
hundred  men  can  go  abreast.  Without  the  gates  of  Val- 
hall  is  the  wood  Glasir,  where  the  leaves  are  of  red  gold. 
They  who  from  the  battle-field  come  to  Odin  are  called 
Einheriar,  or  chosen  heroes ;  their  occupation  consists  in 
arming  themselves,  in  going  out  into  the  court,  to  fight 
with  and  slay  each  other ;  but  at  breakfast-time  they  ride 
home  to  Valhall,  perfectly  sound,  drink  beer  with  the 
Msir,  and  recruit  themselves  with  the  flesh  of  the  hog 
Ssehrimnir;  for  this  hog,  although  boiled  every  day  by 
the  cook  Andhrimnir,  in  the  kettle  Eldhrimnir,  is  whole 
again  in  the  evening.  The  mead  which  they  drink  flows 
from  the  udder  of  the  goat  Heidrun  (Hei|?run),  that  feeds 
on  the  leaves  of  the  tree  Lerad  (LeraiSr),  which  stands  over 
Odin's  hall.  With  this  mead  a  drinking-vessel  is  filled  of 
such  capacity,  that  all  the  Einheriar  have  wherewith  to 
satisfy  themselves.  Here  they  are  waited  upon  by  the 
Valkyriur,  who  present  the  mead  and  have  charge  of  every 
thing  belonging  to  the  table.  The  branches  of  the  tree 

1  This  interpretation  I  believe  to  be  borne  out  by  the  context  of  Grim- 
nismal,  Str.  21,  which  has  manifestly  been  misunderstood,  viz. — 

pytr  )>und,  Thund  roars,  arstraumr  Jnkir      the  strong  streams 


unir  pioflvitnis     Thiodvitnir's  fish    ofer  mikill  over  great 

fiskr  flofti  i          plays  in  the  river     valglaumi  at  vafta  for  the  band  of  the 

fallen  to  wade. 

pund,  the  roaring  (like  Odin's  name  pundr),  I  take  for  the  name  of  the 
river  that  surrounds  Valhall.  Valglaumr,  as  Rask  observes,  is  the  com 
pany  of  '  valr,'  or  fallen,  that  have  to  pass  over  the  river  to  come  to  Val 
hall.  What  is  meant  by  Thiodvitnir's  fish  is  unknown, — P. 


Lerad  are  eaten  also  by  the  hart  Eikthyrnir,  from  whose 
horns  drops  fall  into  Hvergelmir,  of  which  many  rivers  are 
formed,  some  of  which  flow  through  the  domains  of  the 
gods,  others  in  the  neighbourhood  of  men,  and  fall  from 
thence  to  Hel.  Odin  takes  no  food,  but  gives  that 
which  is  set  before  him  at  table  to  his  wolves,  Geri 
and  Freki ;  Odin  lives  solely  on  wine.  His  attendant  is 
his  son  Hermod  (Hermoftr),  whom  he  sends  on  his  mes 
sages  * . 

THOR,  or  ASA-THOR,  a  son  of  Odin  and  the  earth  (Fiorg- 
vin,  the  vivifying ;  Hlodyn,  the  warming*),  is  the  strongest 
of  all  the  gods3.  He  rules  over  the  realm  of  Thrudvang 
(praiSvangur)  or  Thrudheim  (pnrSheimr),  and  his  man 
sion  is  named  Bilskirnir,  in  which  there  are  five  hundred 
and  forty  floors.  It  is  the  largest  house  ever  seen  by  men. 
He  is  also  called  Hlorridi  (the  Fire-driver  or  rider),  Ving- 

1  Gylf.  20,  36,  38-41.     Skaldskap.  34.    VafJ>rudnism.  Str.  41.     Grim- 
nism.  Str.  8-10, 18, 19,  21-28,  36.  Hrafnag.  0$.  Str.  10.  Hyndlulj.  Str.  2. 

2  The  goddess  Hlodyn  seems  also  to  have  been  known  to  the  Germans. 
Near  Birten,  on  the  Lower  Rhine,  the  following  inscription  was  found,  now 
preserved  at  Bonn :  DE^E  HLUDAN^E  SACRUM  C.  TIBERIUS  VERUS.  Thor- 
lacius,  with  great  probability  (Antiq.  Bor.  Spec,  iii.),  identifies  Hludana 
with  the  Hlodyn  of  the  North,  and  certainly  Hludana  was  neither  a  Ro 
man  nor  a  Celtic  divinity ;  though  Schreiber  (Die  Feen  in  Europa,  p.  63) 
refers  the  name  to  the  town  of  Liiddingen,  not  far  from  Birten.    Grimm, 
D.M.  p.  235.   Miiller,  Altdeutsche  Religion,  p.  88. 

3  Thor  is  described  sometimes  as  an  old  man,  though  usually  as  a  tall, 
slender,  comely  young  man  with  a  red  beard  ;  on  his  head  there  is  a  crown 
of  twelve  stars  (Steph.  Not»  in  Sax.  p.  139).     When  he  waxes  wroth  he 
blows  in  his  red  beard,  and  thunder  resounds  among  the  clouds.    And  St. 
Olaf  the  king — to  whom,  on  the  suppression  of  heathenism  in  the  North, 
much  of  Thor's  character  was  transferred  by  the  missionaries,  for  the  pur 
pose,  no  doubt,  of  reconciling  their  converts  to  the  new  faith — is  cele 
brated  as  resembling  his  prototype  even  to  the  hue  of  his  beard,  as  we 
learn  from  the  troll-wife's  address  to  him,  when  he  caused  a  rock,  that  had 
obstructed  his  course,  to  part  in  two  : 

"  Saint  Olaf  with  thy  beard  so  red, 
Why  sailest  thou  through  my  cellar  wall  ?" 


Thor,  &c.,  and  sometimes  Auku-Thor,  Oku-Thor  (Car-Thor) , 
because  he  drives  in  a  chariot  with  two  he-goats,  Tanngniost 
and  Tanngrisnir.  He  is  the  constant  enemy  of  the  giants 
and  trolls.  He  possesses  three  precious  things,  viz.  1.  the 
hammer  Miolnir,  which  the  frost-  and  mountain-giants 
know  but  too  well,  when  he  swings  it  in  the  air ;  2.  his 
belt  of  power  (Megingjar]?ar),  when  girded  with  which  his 
strength  is  doubled;  3.  his  iron  gloves,  which  he  requires 
when  he  grasps  the  haft  of  Miolnir.  As  the  jarls  (men 
of  rank,  whence  our  earls)  that  fall  in  battle  belong  to 
Odin,  in  like  manner  Thor  has  the  race  of  thralls.  Thor's 
sons  are  Magni  and  Modi  (M6j?i).  By  his  wife  Sif  he  has 
a  daughter  named  Thrud  (prtiSr).  He  is  foster-father  to 
Vingnir  and  Hlora.  On  his  travels  he  is  attended  by 
Thialfi  and  Roskva1. 

BALDUR  is  Odin's  second  son  (by  Frigg) ;  he  is  the  best 
and  is  praised  by  all.  He  is  so  fair  of  aspect,  and  so  bright, 
that  light  issues  from  him ;  and  there  is  a  plant,  that  of 
all  plants  is  the  whitest,  which  is  compared  to  Baldur's 
browt2.  Hence  an  idea  may  be  formed  of  his  beauty  both 
of  hair  and  person.  He  is  the  wisest,  and  most  eloquent, 

1  Gylf.  21.    Voluspa,  Str.  56.     Lokaglepsa,  Str.  55,  57,  58.    Hamarsh. 
Str.  1,  9.    Grimnism.  Str.  4,  24.    HarbarSslj.  Str.  24,  54.   Alvism.  Str.  6. 
Hyndlulj.  Str.  40.     Skaldskap.  4,  21.  and  p.  211. 

The  aconite  (wolfsbane,  monkshood)  is  in  Norway  called  Thorhjalm 
(Thori  galea),  Thorhat  (Thori  pileus) ;  Swed.  Dan.  stormhat.  May  not 
its  denomination  of  wolfsbane  bear  allusion  to  Thor's  combat  with  the 
wolf  ?  It  is  also  called  Tyrihjalm  (Tyris  galea).  See  Grimm,  D.  M.  p. 

2  In  Denmark,  Baldur's  brow  is  the  anthemis  cotula ;  in  Iceland,  the 
matricaria  maritima  inodora ;  in  Sweden,  a  plant  called  hvitatoja  (white 
eye)  or  hvitapiga  (white  lass).     In  Skania,  the  anthemis  cotula  bears  the 
name  of  balsensbro.     On  the  right  hand  side  of  the  road  leading  from  Co 
penhagen  to  Roeskilde  there  is  a  well  called  Baldur's  Brbnd,  which  he  is 
said  to  have  opened  after  a  battle  with  Hb'dur,  to  refresh  his  men  suffer 
ing  from  heat  and  fatigue.     The  tradition  among  the  country-people  is, 
that  it  was  produced  by  a  stroke  of  the  hoof  of  Baldur's  horse.   See  Saxo, 
p.  120,  and  Bp.  Miiller's  note ;  also  Thiele,  Danske  Folkesagn,  i.  5. 



and  most  amiable  of  the  ^Esir,  and  is  so  gifted  by  nature 
that  no  one  may  pervert  his  judgements.  His  abode  is  in 
heaven,  in  the  place  called  Breidablik,  into  which  nothing 
impure  may  enter1. 

1  Gylf.  22.  A  short  poem,  in  Old  High  German,  of  the  ninth  or  tenth 
century,  discovered  a  few  years  since  at  Merseburg  by  Dr.  Waitz,  and 
published  by  Dr.  J.  Grimm,  has  for  subject  the  horse  of  Phol,  whom 
Grimm,  with  great  probability,  takes  to  be  identical  with  Baldur.  As 
the  anecdote  it  contains  does  not  appear  in  either  Edda,  though  the  tra 
dition,  as  will  presently  be  seen,  has  been,  and  probably  still  is,  current 
not  only  in  the  North  and  the  Netherlands,  but  also  in  this  island,  I  do 
not  hesitate  in  giving  the  entire  poem  together  with  its  more  modern 

Phol  endi  Wodan 

vuorun  zi  holza : 

du  wart  demo  Balderes  volon 

sin  vuoz  birenkit ; 

thu  biguolen  Sinthgunt, 

Sunna  era  suister ; 

thu  biguolen  Frua, 

Volla  era  suister ; 

thu  biguolen  Wodan, 

so  he  wola  conda, 

sose  benrenki, 

sose  bluotrenki, 

sose  lidirenki ; 

*  #  # 

ben  zi  bena, 
bluot  zi  bluoda, 
lid  zi  geliden, 
sose  gelimida  sin. 

Phol  and  Woden 
went  to  the  wood ; 
then  was  of  Balder's  colt 
his  foot  wrenched ; 
then  Sinthgunt  charm'd  it, 
and  Sunna  her  sister  ; 
then  Frua  charm'd  it, 
and  Volla  her  sister  ; 
then  Woden  charm'd  it, 
as  he  well  could, 
as  well  the  bone-wrench, 
as  the  blood-wrench, 
as  the  joint -wrench  ; 
*  #  # 

bone  to  bone, 
blood  to  blood, 
joint  to  joint, 
as  if  they  were  glued  together. 

Under  the  following  christianized  form  it  appears  in  Norway  : — 

Jesus  reed  sig  til  Heede, 

der  reed  han  syndt   (sender) 


Jesus  stigede  af  og  tegte  det ; 
Jesus  lagde  Marv  i  Marv, 
Ben  i  Ben,  Kjod  i  Kjod  ; 
Jesus  lagde  derpaa  et  Blad, 
At  det  skulde  blive  i  samme  stad. 

Jesus  rode  to  the  heath, 
sit    There  he  rode  the  leg  of  his  colt  in 


Jesus  dismounted  and  heal'd  it ; 
Jesus  laid  marrow  to  marrow, 
Bone  to  bone,  flesh  to  flesh  ; 
Jesus  laid  thereon  a  leaf, 
That  it  might  remain  in  the  same  place. 

In  Asbjornsen's  Norske  Huldreeventyr  (i.  45)  an  old  Norwegian  crone 


The  third  As  is  NIORD  (Njb'r)>r).  He  dwells  in  Noatun. 
He  rules  the  course  of  the  wind,  stills  the  ocean,  and 
quenches  fire.  He  is  invoked  by  sea-farers  and  fishermen, 
and  is  the  patron  of  temples  and  altars1.  He  is  so  rich 
that  he  can  give  wealth  and  superfluity  to  those  that  in- 

applies  the  veterinary  remedy  to  a  young  man's  sprained  ankle,  in  the 
following  formula  muttered  over  a  glass  of  brandy  : — 

Jeg  red  mig  engang  igjennem  et  Led,  I  once  was  riding  through  a  gate, 
Saa  fik  min  sorte  Fole  Vred  ;  When  my  black  colt  got  a  sprain  ; 

Saa  satte  jeg  Kjbd  mod  Kjod  og     So  I  set  flesh  to  flesh  and  blood  to 

Blod  mod  Blod,  blood, 

Saa  blev  min  sorte  Fole  god.  So  my  black  colt  got  well. 

From  Norway  the  horse-remedy  most  probably  found  its  way  to  Shet 
land,  where, "  when  a  person  has  received  a  sprain,  it  is  customary  to  apply 
to  an  individual  practised  in  casting  the  '  wresting  thread.'  This  is  a 
thread  spun  from  black  wool,  on  which  are  cast  nine  knots,  and  tied  round 
a  sprained  leg  or  arm.  During  the  time  the  operator  is  putting  the 
thread  round  the  affected  limb,  he  says,  but  in  such  a  tone  of  voice  as 
not  to  be  heard  by  the  bystanders,  nor  even  by  the  person  operated 
upon : — 

"  The  Lord  rade,  "  Set  joint  to  joint, 

And  the  foal  slade  ;  Bone  to  bone, 

He  lighted,  And  sinew  to  sinew. 

And  he  righted  ;  Heal  in  the  Holy  Ghost's  name  !  " 

In  Sweden  against  the  horse  distemper,  '  flog,'  we  find 

Oden  star  pa  borget,  Odin  stands  on  the  mountain, 

han  sporger  efter  sin  fole,  He  inquires  after  his  colt, 

floget  har  han  fatt.  He  has  got  the  '  flog.' 

Spotta  i  din  hand  och  i  hans  raun,  Spit  in  thy  hand  and  eke  in  his  mouth, 

han  skall  fa  hot  i  samma  stund.  He  shall  be  cured  in  the  same  hour. 

See  Jacob  Grimm,  Ueber  zwei  entdeckte  Gedichte  aus  der  Zeit  des 
Deutschen  Heidenthums,  Berlin,  1812,  4to  ;  and  Deutsche  Mythologie, 
p.  1181 ;  also  Popular  Rhymes,  &c.  of  Scotland,  by  Robert  Chambers, 
p.  37,  Edinb.  1842.  A  similar  formula  is  known  in  the  Netherlands,  but 
which  Grimm  was  unable  to  give.  An  attempt  by  the  present  editor 
to  procure  it  from  Belgium  has,  he  regrets  to  say,  also  proved  unsuc 

1  Vaf>rudnism.  38. 


vokc  him1.      Niord,  as  we  have  already  said,  was  born 
and  bred  in  Vanaheim2. 

Frey  (Freyr),  a  son  of  Niord  and  his  sister3,  was  also 
bred  in  Vanaheim.  He  is  beloved  of  all,  and  is  one  of  the 
most  renowned  of  the  ^Esir.  He  presides  over  rain,  and 
sunshine,  and  the  fruits  of  the  earth.  He  is  to  be  invoked 
for  good  seasons  and  peace.  He  also  presides  over  the 
wealth  of  men.  He  is  the  god  of  the  year,  and  giver  of 
cattle,  and  loosens  the  bonds  of  the  captive4.  In  the 
beginning  of  time,  Alfheim  was  given  to  him  by  the  gods 
as  tooth-money.  He  reigns  over  the  Light-elves  (Lios- 
alfar),  who  are  more  beauteous  than  the  sun,  while  the 
Black  or  Dark-elves  (Dockalfar),  who  are  blacker  than 
pitch,  dwell  in  the  bowels  of  the  earth  5.  He  is  the  foe 

1  Gylf.  23.     Grimnisra.  Str.  16.     Skaldskap.  6. 

2  An  aquatic  plant  (spongia  marina)  bears  his  name,  viz.  Niarftar  vottr 
(Niord's  glove),  which  is  also  consecrated  both  to  Freyia  and  the  Virgin 
Mary.     This  plant,  as  well  as  some  kinds  of  orchis,  in  consequence  of  the 
hand-shaped  form  of  their  roots,  are  called  Mary's  hand,  our  Lady's  hand, 
God's  hand  (Dan.  Gudshaand).     Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  198. 

3  Adam  of  Bremen  (De  Situ  Dania?),  who  calls  him  Fricco,  thus  speaks 
of  the  worship  of  Frey  in  Upsala :  "  Fricco,  pacem  voluptatemque  largiens 
mortalibus ;  cujus  etiam  simulacrum  fingunt  ingenti  priapo ;    si  nuptiae 
celebrandse  sunt,  immolant  Fricconi." 

4  Lokaglepsa,  37. 

5  The  Elves  (Alfar)  of  later  times  seem  a  sort  of  middle  being  between 
the  Light  and  Dark  Elves.    They  are  fair  and  lively,  but  also  bad  and  mis 
chievous.     In  some  parts  of  Norway  the  peasants  describe  them  as  dimi 
nutive,  naked  boys  with  hats  on.     Traces  of  their  dance  are  sometimes  to 
be  seen  on  the  wet  grass,  especially  on  the  banks  of  rivers.    Their  ex 
halation  is  injurious,  and  is  called  alfgust  or  elf  blast,  causing  a  swelling, 
which  is  easily  contracted  by  too  nearly  approaching  places  where  they 
have  spat,  &c.   They  have  a  predilection  for  certain  spots,  but  particularly 
for  large  trees,  which  on  that  account  the  owners  do  not  venture  to  med 
dle  with,  but  look  on  them  as  something  sacred,  on  which  the  weal  or  woe 
of  the  place  depends.     Certain  diseases  among  their  cattle  are  attributed 
to  the  Alfs,  and  are,  therefore,   called  alf-ild  (elf-fire)  or  alfskud  (elf- 
shot).  The  Dark  Elves  (Dock-alfar)  are  often  confounded  with  the  Dwarfs, 
with  whom  they  indeed  seem  identical,  though  they  are  distinguished  in 
Odin's  Ravens'  Song.     The  Norwegians  also  make  a  distinction  between 


and  slayer  of  Beli ;  is  owner  of  the  ship  Skidbladnir,  and 
rides  in  a  chariot  drawn  by  the  hog  Gullinbursti  (Gold- 
Dwarfs  and  Alfs,  believing  the  former  to  live  solitary  and  in  quiet,  while 
the  latter  love  music  and  dancing.  Faye,  p.  48. 

The  fairies  (elves)  of  Scotland  are  precisely  identical  with  the  above. 
They  are  described  as  "  a  diminutive  race  of  beings,  of  a  mixed  or  rather 
dubious  nature,  capricious  in  their  dispositions,  and  mischievous  in  their 
resentment.  They  inhabit  the  interior  of  green  hills,  chiefly  those  of  a 
conical  form,  in  Gaelic  termed  Siyhan,  on  which  they  lead  their  dances  by 
moonlight ;  impressing  upon  the  surface  the  marks  of  circles,  which  some 
times  appear  yellow  and  blasted,  sometimes  of  a  deep  green  hue ;  and 
within  which  it  is  dangerous  to  sleep,  or  to  be  found  after  sunset.  Cattle, 
which  are  suddenly  seized  with  the  cramp,  or  some  similar  disorder,  are 
said  to  be  elf -shot"  Scott's  Minstrelsy  of  the  Scottish  Border,  ii.  162, 
edit.  1821. 

Of  the  Swedish  elves,  Arndt  gives  us  the  following  sketch  : — "  Of  giants 
and  dwarfs,  of  the  alp,  of  dragons  that  keep  watch  over  treasures,  they 
have  the  usual  stories ;  nor  are  the  kindly  elves  forgotten.  How  often  has 
my  postillion,  when  he  observed  a  circular  mark  in  the  dewy  grass,  ex 
claimed  :  '  See  !  there  the  elves  have  been  dancing !'  These  elf -dances 
play  a  great  part  in  the  spinning  room.  To  those  who  at  midnight  happen 
to  enter  one  of  these  circles,  the  elves  become  visible,  and  may  then  play 
all  kinds  of  pranks  with  them  ;  though,  in  general,  they  are  little,  merry, 
harmless  beings,  both  male  and  female.  They  often  sit  in  small  stones 
that  are  hollowed  out  in  a  circular  form,  and  which  are  called  alfquarnar 
(elf-querns  or  -millstones).  Their  voice  is  said  to  be  soft  like  the  air.  If 
a  loud  cry  is  heard  in  the  forest,  it  is  that  of  the  Skogsra  (see  vol.  ii.),  or 
spirit  of  the  wood,  which  should  be  answered  only  by  a  '  He  ! '  when  it 
can  do  no  harm."  Reise  durch  Schweden,  iii.  16. 

The  elf-shot  was  known  in  this  country  in  very  remote  times,  as  appears 
from  the  Anglo-Saxon  incantation  printed  in  Grimm,  D.  M.  1192  and 
in  the  Appendix  to  Kemble's  Saxons  in  England  (i.  530,  sq.)  : — "  Gif  hit 
wgere  esagescot,  oftfte  hit  waere  ylfa  gescot."  If  it  were  an  asir-shot  or 
an  elve'.s-shot.  On  this  subject  Grimm  says  :  "  It  is  a  very  old  belief,  that 
dangerous  arrows  were  shot  by  the  elves  from  the  air The  thunder 
bolt  is  also  called  elf-shot,  and  in  Scotland,  a  hard,  sharp,  wedge-shaped 
stone  is  known  by  the  name  of  elf-arrow,  elf-flint,  elf-bolt,  which  it  is 
supposed  has  been  sent  by  the  spirits."  D.  M.  429.  See  also  the  old  Da 
nish  ballad  '  Elveskud,'  in  which  the  elf-king's  daughter  strikes  Sir  Oluf 
between  the  shoulders,  and  causes  his  death.  Danske  Viser,  i.  237 ;  or 
the  Engl.  transl.  in  Jameson's  Ballads,  i.  219. 

The  wives  of  the  elves  are  called  '  elliser.'  They  are  to  be  seen  only  in 
fine  weather,  and  then  in  the  <:  elf-marshes,"  particularly  in  spots  where 


bristle),  or  Slidmgtanni1.  Frey's  attendant  is  named 
Skirnir ;  he  has  also  Beyggvir  and  his  wife  Beyla  in  his 
service2.  The  Swedes  were  chiefly  devoted  to  his  wor 

Here  may  also  be  noticed  the  three  sons  of  Forniot  (the 
old  Jute),  viz.  (Egir  or  Hler4  (Hler) ,  the  god  of  the  ocean ; 
Logi6  (flame  or  fire),  and  Kari  (wind).  (Egir's  wife  is 
Ran;  they  have  nine  daughters,  whose  names  denote 
waves.  His  servants  were  Fimafeng  (dextre,  celeriter  ac- 
quirens),  who  was  slain  by  Loki,  and  Eldir.  Ran  takes  in 

some  one  has  met  his  death  in  an  unfortunate  manner.  They  sometimes 
scatter  the  hay  about,  sometimes  dance.  In  front  they  appear  as  beau 
tiful  women,  but  behind  are  deformed  and  ugly ;  or,  as  they  are  described, 
"  as  hollow  as  a  dough-trough."  Thiele,  i.  22,  167,  edit.  1820;  ii.  213, 
edit.  1843. 

The  hole  in  wood,  where  a  knot  has  been,  is  called  in  Scotland  an  elf- 
bore.  A  similar  superstition  prevails  in  Denmark  and  Norway. 

From  Afzelius  we  learn  that  elf-altars  still  exist  in  Sweden,  at  which 
offerings  are  made  for  the  sick.  The  elves  are  slender  and  delicate  ;  the 
young  females  are  particularly  beautiful.  When,  on  a  summer  evening, 
the  wanderer  lies  down  to  rest  by  an  elf-mound  (alfwehog)  he  hears  the 
tones  of  their  harp  and  their  lively  song.  When  an  elf  damsel  wishes  to 
unite  herself  with  the  human  race,  she  flies  with  the  sunbeam  through 
some  opening,  as  a  knot-hole  in  the  wainscot,  etc.  etc.  Sago-Hafder,  ii. 
150,  155. 

1  In  the  North  a  hog  was  offered  to  Frey  as  a  sacrifice  of  atonement ; 
and  in  Sweden,  until  comparatively  recent  times,  cakes  in  the  form  of  a 
hog  were  baked  every  Christmas  eve.  Grimm,  p.  45.     In  Denmark,  even 
to  the  present  day,  the  lower  classes  have  roast  pork  for  dinner  on  that 

2  Gylf.  17,  24,  49.  p.  66.    Skaldskap.  7.    Grimnism.  Str.  5.    Skirnisfor. 
Lokaglepsa,  Introd.  Str.  36,  37,  44-46,  52,  56. 

3  See  some  further  remarks  on  the  worship  of  Frey  in  Kemble's  Saxons 
in  England,  i.  355. 

4  Oegir  and  Hler  were,  no  doubt,  anciently  considered  as  two,  the 
former  ruling  over  the  stormy,  the  latter  over  the  tranquil  ocean.   In  Saxo 
also  (p.  81)  we  find  two  dukes  in  Jutland,  Eyr  and  Ler. 

5  On  account  of  his  lofty  stature,  Logi  was  called  Halogi  (High  Logi). 
From  him  the  most  northern  part  of  Norway  has  its  name  of  Halogaland, 
or  Helgeland.     He  was  father  to  Thorgerd  Holgabrud  and  Yrpa,  concern 
ing  whom  see  hereafter. 



her  net  those  that  perish  at  sea1.  These  divinities  seem  to 
have  belonged  to  an  older  mythology,  most  probably  that 
of  the  Fins2. 

TY,  or  TYR,  is  the  boldest  and  stoutest  of  the  ^Esir.  It 
is  he  who  gives  victory  in  war,  and  should  be  invoked  by 
warriors.  It  is  a  proverbial  saying,  that  a  man  who  sur 
passes  others  in  valour  is  as  bold  as  Ty.  He  is  also  so 
wise,  that  it  is  usual  to  say  of  a  very  sagacious  man,  he 
is  as  wise  as  Ty.  He  is,  however,  not  considered  as  a 
settler  of  quarrels  among  people.  Odin  is  his  father3,  but 
on  his  mother's  side  he  is  of  giant  race4. 

BRAGI  is  another  of  the  .ZEsir.  He  is  famed  for  wisdom 
and  eloquence,  and  is  profoundly  skilled  in  the  art  of 
poetry,  which  from  him  is  denominated  bragr,  and  those 
who  distinguish  themselves  above  others  in  eloquence  are 
called  bragr-men,  and  bragr-women.  He  is  upbraided  by 
Loki  for  not  being  sufficiently  warlike  and  doughty  in 
battle.  He  has  a  long  beard,  and  is  a  son  of  Odin5. 

HEIMDALL,  though  regarded  as  a  Van,  is  nevertheless 
called  a  son  of  Odin.  He  is  also  called  the  White  or 
Bright  God,  arid  is  a  great  and  holy  god.  In  the  begin 
ning  of  time  he  was  born,  on  the  boundary  of  the  earth, 
of  nine  giant  maidens,  who  were  sisters,  and  was  nourished 
with  the  strength  of  the  earth,  and  the  cold  sea.  The 
nine  maidens  were  named,  Gialp,  Greip,  Elgia,  Angeia, 
Ulfrun,  Aurgiafa,  Sindur,  Atla,  and  Jarnsaxa.  He  drinks 

1  Lokaglepsa,  Introd.    Skaldskap,  25, 27,  33,  61.    Hrafnag.  OS.  Str.  17. 
Hversu  Noregr  bygftist,  c.  1. 

2  Forniot  was  known  to  the  Anglo-Saxons,  as  appears  from  the  name 
given  by  them  to  a  plant :  Forneotes  folme  (Forniot's  hand). 

3  In  the  HymiskviSa  he  speaks  of  himself  as  a  son  of  the  giant  Hymir. 
See  hereafter. 

4  Gylf.  25.     Skaldskap,  9.     Hymiskv.  Str.  4,  5,  7,  8,  10.     The  daphne 
mezereon  (spurge  laurel)  bears  his  name — Tyviftr  (Dan  Tysved).     Th 
viola  Martis  is  in  Scotland  called  Tysfiola. 

5  Gylf.  26.     Skaldskap.  10.     Grimnism.  Str.  44.     Lokaglepsa,  Str.  13. 


mead  in  his  bright  hall,  Himinbiorg,  by  Bifrost,  at  the 
bridge  head  (briiarsporiSr),  where  the  rainboAV  reaches 
heaven.  There  he  sits,  as  the  watchman  of  the  gods,  at 
the  end  of  heaven,  to  guard  the  bridge  from  the  mountain- 
giants,  where  he  is  often  wetted  through  with  rain,  or,  as 
Loki  expresses  it,  gets  a  wet  back.  He  needs  less  sleep 
than  a  bird,  hears  the  grass  grow  on  the  ground  and  the 
wool  on  the  sheep,  and  sees,  as  well  by  night  as  by  day, 
for  a  hundred  miles  around  him.  His  horn  Gioll  (Giallar- 
horn)  is  hidden  under  the  sacred  tree  Yggdrasil ;  but 
when  he  blows  it,  its  sound  is  heard  through  all  worlds. 
HeimdalPs  horse  is  named  Gulltopp  (Gold-mane).  He  is 
himself  also  called  Hallinskeidi  (Descending),  and  Gullin- 
tanni  (Golden-tooth),  because  his  teeth  are  of  gold.  The 
head  is  called  HeimdalPs  sword,  because  he  was  pierced 
through  with  a  man's  head1.  He  contended  with  Loki 
for  the  Brisinga-men,  Freyia's  ornament2. 

HOD  (HODUR)  is  another  of  the  ^Esir,  and  is  said  to  be 
a  son  of  Odin.  He  is  blind,  but  exceedingly  strong.  The 
gods  may  well  wish  never  to  hear  his  name  pronounced, 
for  his  deed3  will  be  long  remembered  both  by  gods  arid 

VIDAR  is  called  the  silent  god.  He  is  the  son  of  Odin 
and  the  giantess  Grid  (GrrSr).  He  has  a  very  thick  shoe, 
that  has  been  forming,  from  the  beginning  of  time,  of  the 
thin  shreds  that  are  cut  from  shoes  in  shaping  the  toes  or 
heels :  therefore  should  every  one  cast  away  such  shreds, 
who  cares  about  rendering  aid  to  the  ^Esir4.  In  other 
places  mention  is  made  of  his  iron  shoes,  and  in  the  Skalda 
he  is  called  eiganda  iarnskoss  (owner  of  the  iron  shoe)  : 

1  Skaldskap.  8.     The  myth  to  which  this  refers  is  lost. 

2  Gylf.  17,  27.   Voluspa,  Str.  31.   Grimnism.  Str.  13.    Hamarsh.  Str.  17. 
Lokaglepsa,  Str.  43.    Hyndlulj.  Str.  34-36.    Hrafnag.  0$.  Str.  26.    Skald 
skap.  8,  16,  69. 

3  His  slaying  of  Baldur.     Gylf.  28.     Skaldskap.  13. 

4  The  reason  will  appear  hereafter. 


he  is  the  strongest  of  the  gods  after  Thor,  and  affords  them 
aid  in  many  difficulties.  His  abode,  Landvidi  (Landvijn), 
is  thickly  overgrown  with  brushwood  and  high  grass1. 

VALI  is  a  son  of  Odin  and  Rind.  He  is  stout  in  battle, 
and  an  excellent  archer2. 

ULL  (ULLR)  is  the  son  of  Sif  and  stepson  of  Thor.  He 
is  a  good  archer,  and  runs  so  rapidly  on  snow-shoes,  that 
no  one  is  a  match  for  him.  He  is  comely  of  aspect,  and 
warlike  in  habit  and  manners.  It  is  good  to  invoke  him 
in  single  combats.  His  dwelling  is  Ydal  (Ydalir)3. 

FORSETI,  a  son  of  Baldur  and  Nanna4,  Nef  s  (Nep's) 
daughter,  dwells  in  the  heavenly  mansion  called  Glitnir, 
which  is  supported  on  gold,  and  roofed  with  silver.  He 
settles  all  quarrels,  and  neither  gods  nor  men  know  any 
better  judgements  than  his  5. 

LOKI  (AsA-LoKi  or  Lopt)  is  reckoned  among  the  JSsir, 
and  is  styled  the  traducer  of  the  gods,  and  a  scandal  to 
gods  and  men.  His  father  is  the  giant  Farbauti;  his 
mother  is  Laufey  (leafy-isle),  or  Nal  (needle),  and  his 
brothers  are  Byleist  and  Helblindi6.  He  is  comely  of 

1  Gylf.  29,  51.     Grimnism.  Str.  17.     Skaldskap.  11,  18,  p.  113. 

2  Gylf.  30.     Skaldskap.  12. 

3  Gylf.  31.     Skaldskap.  14.     Grimnism.  Str.  5,  42.     Vegtamskv.  Str.  3. 

4  The  inhabitants  of  Heligoland  were  especially  devoted  to  the  worship 
of  Forseti,  from  whom  the  isle  itself  bore  the  name  of  Fosetisland,  i.  e.  For- 
seti's  land.  It  was  held  so  sacred  by  the  natives,  and  by  mariners  and  pirates, 
that  no  one  dared  to  touch  any  animal  that  grazed  on  it,  nor  even  to  draw 
water  from  the  well  unless  in  silence.     Hence  no  doubt  its  appellation  of 
Heilig  (holy)  land.     Alcuin,  in  his  Vita  S.  Willibrordi,  gives  an  interest 
ing  account  of  the  saint's  actions  on  the  isle,  on  which  he  had  been  cast 
by  a  storm.     The  entire  extract,  as  well  as  another  from  Adam  of  Bremen, 
'  De  Situ  Daniae,'  may  be  seen  in  Grimm,  D.  M.  pp.  210,  211.; 

5  Gylf.  32.     Grimnism.  Str.  15. 

6  In  Jutland   the  plant  polytrichum    commune   is  called  Loki's  oats. 
When  there  is  a  certain  trembling  or  waving  motion  in  the  air,  which  be 
wilders  and  dazzles  the  sight,  the  Jutish  peasants  say  that  Lofci  is  sowing 
his  oats. — Blicher's  Noveller,  v.  p.  77.     Another  plant,  the  rhinanthus 
cristagalli,  or  yellow  rattle,  is  called  Loki's  purse.     In  the  middle  age,  the 


aspect,  but  evil-minded,  and  very  capricious.  He  is  distin 
guished  above  others  for  guile  and  artifice,  and  has  often 
brought  the  ^Esir  into  perilous  plights,  from  which  how 
ever  he  has  extricated  them  by  his  cunning.  His  wife  is 
named  Sigyn,  and  their  sons  Nari  or  Narvi,  and  Vali  or 
Ali.  But  Loki  has  also  other  children  by  Angurboda,  a 
giantess  from  Jotunheim,  viz.  the  Wolf  Fenrir,  the  Jor- 
mungand  or  Midgard's  Serpent,  and  Hel,  the  goddess  of 
the  dead.  In  the  beginning  of  time,  Odin  and  Loki  were 
foster-brothers ;  they  had  mingled  blood  together,  on  which 
account  Odin  would  never  hold  a  feast  unless  Loki  were 
present.  But  Loki  was  afterwards,  for  eight  years,  down 
on  earth,  in  the  form  of  a  cow,  and  as  a  woman,  and  there 
bore  children.  Burnt  up  in  his  innermost  sense  (seared  up 
in  mind),  Loki  found  a  half-burnt  heart  of  a  woman;  then 
he  became  false  and  wicked,  and  thence  came  all  unhap- 
piness  on  earth1. 

We  meet  also  with  the  names  of  Meili,  a  son  of  Odin 
and  brother  of  Thor;  Nep  or  Nef  (Nepr,  Nefir),  a  son 
of  Odin,  and  father  of  Nanna ;  also  Hildolf,  a  son  of 

THE  GODDESSES. — The  chief  goddess  is  FRiGG3,  the 
wife  of  Odin.  From  them  descend  the  race  of  ^Esir4.  Her 

idea  of  the  devil  was  applied  to  Loki,  who  sows  weeds  among  the  good 
seed.  In  the  Thellemark  in  Norway  he  once  took  a  child  on  his  hack,  and  on 
setting  it  down,  said,  "  So  shalt  thou  sit  till  thou  art  a  year  old."  Whence 
it  comes  that  children  have  a  hollow  on  each  side  of  the  hip,  and  cannot 
walk  before  the  expiration  of  a  year.  When  the  fire  makes  a  whining 
noise,  it  is  said  that  Lokje  (Loki)  is  beating  his  children. — Faye,  Norskc 
Sagn,  p.  6.  In  Iceland  the  fiery,  sulphureous  ignis  fatuus  is  called  Loka- 
brenna  (Lokii  incendium),  Loka  daun  is  the  Icelandic  name  of  a  fiery 
vapour.  Grimm,  D.  M.  pp.  221,  868. 

1  Gylf.  33,  34.     Skaldskap.  16.     Lokaglepsa,  Str.  6,  9,  23.     Hyndlulj. 
Str.  38. 

2  Harbarftslj.  Str.  8,  9. 

3  Whether  the  sixth  day  of  the  week  is  named  after  her,  or  after  the 
goddess  Freyia,  is  very  doubtful. 

4  Gylf.  9.     Skaldskap.  p.  211. 


habitation  is  Fensalir.  She  knows  the  destiny  of  men,  al 
though  she  is  silent  thereon.  During  Odin's  absence,  she 
married  his  brothers  Vili  and  Ve1.  She  is  called  Fior- 
gyn's  daughter,  Nanna's  stepmother,  Earth's,  and  Rind's 
and  Gunnlod's,  and  Gerd's  rival.  She  possesses  a  feather- 
garb,  or  falcon's  plumage  2.  She  is  the  goddess  of  mar 

In  equal  veneration  is  FREYIA  held,  the  daughter  of 
Niord  and  sister  of  Frey.  From  her  descent  she  is  called 
Vana-dis,  or  goddess  of  the  Vanir.  She  dwells  in  Folkvang, 
her  hall  is  called  Sessrymnir  (roomy-seated) ;  and  when 
she  rides  to  battle,  one  half  of  the  slain  belong  to  her,  the 
other  to  Odin ;  hence  her  appellation  of  Valfreyia.  She 
delights  in  love  songs,  and  is  to  be  prayed  to  in  love 
matters.  When  she  rides,  her  chariot  is  drawn  by  two  cats. 
She  owns  the  ornament  called  Brising,  or  Brisinga-men  3. 

1  The  story  is  thus  told  by  Snorri.  "  Odin  had  two  brothers,  one 
named  Ve  the  other  Vilir,  and  these  governed  the  realm  in  his  absence. 
Once,  when  Odin  had  travelled  far  away,  and  had  been  so  long  absent 
that  the  /Esir  despaired  of  his  return,  his  brothers  took  on  themselves  to 
divide  his  possessions  ;  but  of  his  wife,  Frigg,  they  both  took  possession. 
Odin,  however,  returning  shortly  after,  took  back  his  wife." — Ynglinga- 
saga,  3.  For  this  unlucky  affair  she  was  afterwards  jeeringly  reproached 
by  Loki .-  "  pegi  J>u,  Frigg  !  J?u  ert  Fjorgyns  maer,  ok  hefir  ae  vergjorn 
verlS ;  er  J?a  Vea  oc  Vilja  leztu  )>er  Vi>ris  kvaen  !  ba)>a  i  ba>m  um-tekit." 
— Lokaglepsa,  26.  Saxo  (p.  42)  tells  sad  tales  of  Frigg,  how  she  stripped 
her  husband's  statue  of  its  gold,  and  demolished  it,  how  she  violated  her 
conjugal  fidelity,  till  Odin,  provoked  by  the  twofold  injury,  went  into 
voluntary  exile. 

2  Gylf.  20,  35.    Skaldskap.  19.    Lokaglepsa,  Str.  26, 29.    Ynglingas.  c.  3. 

3  In  the  Saga  Olafs  Tryggvasonar,  vol.  ii.  c.  17,  ed.  Skalholt  (and  re 
printed  in  Rask's  edit,  of  Snorra  Edda,  p.  354)  there  is  rather  an  awkward 
story  of  the  manner  in  which  Freyia  became  possessed  of  her  ornament. 
Freyia,  we  are  there  told,  was  a  mistress  of  Odin.  Not  far  from  the  palace 
dwelt  four  dwarfs,  whose  names  were  Alfrig,  Dvalin,  Berling  and  Grer  : 
they  were  skilful  smiths.  Looking  one  day  into  their  stony  dwelling,  Freyia 
saw  them  at  work  on  a  beautiful  golden  necklace  or  collar,  which  she 
offered  to  buy,  but  which  they  refused  to  part  with,  except  on  conditions 
quite  incompatible  with  the  fidelity  she  owed  to  Odin,  but  to  which  she, 


Like  Frigg,  she  possesses  a  falcon's  plumage,  and,  like 
Frey,  a  hog  named  Gullinbursti,  or  Hildisvini  (the  swine 
of  war),  which  the  dwarfs  Dain  and  Nabbi  made  for  her, 
and  whose  golden  bristles  illumine  the  thickest  darkness. 
After  her  name  women  of  condition  are  called  Fru  (Dan. 
Frue,  Ger.  Frau).  Freyia  was  married  to  Od  (03r),  and 
they  had  a  daughter  named  Hnos,  after  whose  name  all 
precious  things  are  called  hnosir.  Od  forsook  her,  and 
went  far  away :  she  weeps  for  his  absence,  and  her  tears 
are  red  gold.  She  travelled  among  unknown  people  in 
search  of  him 1.  Freyia  has  many  names,  because  she 

nevertheless,  was  tempted  to  accede.  Thus  the  ornament  became  hers. 
By  some  means  this  transaction  came  to  the  knowledge  of  Loki,  who  told 
it  to  Odin.  Odin  commanded  him  to  get  possession  of  the  ornament. 
This  was  no  easy  task,  for  no  one  could  enter  Freyia's  bower  without  her 
consent.  He  went  away  whimpering,  but  most  were  glad  on  seeing  him  in 
such  tribulation.  When  he  came  to  the  locked  bower  he  could  nowhere 
find  an  entrance,  and  it  being  cold  weather  he  began  to  shiver.  He  then 
transformed  himself  to  a  fly,  and  tried  every  opening,  but  in  vain  ;  there 
was  nowhere  air  enough  to  enable  him  to  get  through  (Loki  requires  air). 
At  length  he  found  a  hole  in  the  roof,  but  not  bigger  than  the  prick  of  a 
needle  :  through  this  he  slipt.  On  his  entrance  he  looked  around  to  see 
if  any  one  were  awake,  but  all  were  buried  in  sleep.  He  peeped  in  at 
Freyia's  bed,  and  saw  that  she  had  the  ornament  round  her  neck,  but  that 
the  lock  was  on  the  side  she  lay  on.  He  then  transformed  himself  to  a 
flea,  placed  himself  on  Freyia's  cheek,  and  stung  her  so  that  she  woke, 
but  only  turned  herself  round  and  slept  again.  He  then  laid  aside  his 
assumed  form  (ham),  cautiously  took  the  ornament,  unlocked  the  bower, 
and  took  his  prize  to  Odin.  In  the  morning,  on  waking,  Freyia  seeing  the 
door  open  without  having  been  forced,  and  that  her  ornament  is  gone,  in 
stantly  understands  the  whole  affair.  Having  dressed  herself  she  repairs 
to  Odin's  hall,  and  upbraids  him  with  having  stolen  her  ornament,  and 
insists  on  its  restoration,  which  she  finally  obtains. 

This  story,  though  probably  based  on  some  lost  poem,  is  subsequent 
to  the  time  of  Christianity  and  of  little  value.  Compare  the  Brisinga- 
men  of  Freyia  with  the  op/zos  and  iceoros  of  Venus.  In  Beowulf  (v.  2394, 
sq.}  allusion  is  made  to  the  "  Brosinga-men,"  as  belonging  to  Hermanrie, 
but  the  legend  concerning  it  is  no  longer  extant.  See  Kemble's  edition, 
vol.  ii.  Appendix. 

1  Some  traces  of  the  myth  of  Freyia  (under  the  name  of  Syr)  and  Od 

c  5 


assumed  a  new  one  among  each  people  that  she  visited  in 
her  journeyings  :  hence  she  is  called  Mardoll,  Horn,  Gefn, 
and  Syr  l. 

Of  NANNA,  the  wife  of  Baldur,  mention  will  be  made 

IDTJN  (I)?unn,  I]?ir$r),  the  wife  of  Bragi,  and  daughter 
of  Ivald,  keeps  in  her  casket  the  apples  of  which  the  gods 
must  eat,  when  they  begin  to  grow  old  :  they  then  again 
become  young  ;  and  this  process  will  continue  till  the  de 
struction  of  the  gods,  or  Ragnarock.  Her  dwelling  is  in 
Brunnakr  2. 

Sir,  Thor's  wife,  mother  of  Ull  and  Thrud,  has  a  noble 
head  of  hair3.  Loki  says  there  is  but  one  who  had  un 
lawful  intercourse  with  her,  and  that  was  the  wily  Loki  4. 

SAGA  dwells  in  Sockquabeck,  over  which  the  cool  waves 
murmur.  There  she  and  Odin  joyful  drink  each  day  from 
golden  cups  5. 

6  is  a  virgin,  and  is  served  by  those  that  die  vir- 

are  to  be  found  in  the  story  of  Syritha  and  Othar,  given  by  Saxo  (p.  330, 
sq.),  though  in  almost  every  particular  widely  differing  from  the  little 
that  has  been  transmitted  to  us  of  that  myth.  The  flower  Freyju  har 
(mpercilium  Veneris]  owes  its  northern  appellation  to  the  goddess. 

1  Gylf.  24,  35,  49,  p.  66.  Grimnism.  Str.  14.  Hyndlulj.  Str.  7.  Ha- 
marsh.  Str.  3. 

-  Gylf.  26.     Hrafnag.  0$.  Str.  6.     Skaldskap.  p.  121. 

3  See  more  about  Sif's  hair  at  p.  38.     A  plant  (polytrichurn  aureum) 
bears  the  name  of  Sifjar  haddr  (Sifte  peplum). 

4  Skaldskap.  21.     Lokaglepsa,  Str.  54. 

5  Gylf.  35.     Grimnism.  Str.  7. 

f>  Of  Gefion,  and  the  obligation  under  which  the  Danes  lie  to  her,  there 
is  the  following  tradition.  A  king  named  Gylfi  once  reigned  over  the  lands 
now  called  Sweden.  Of  him  it  is  related  that  he  gave  a  wandering  woman, 
who  had  diverted  him  by  her  song,  as  much  land  as  four  oxen  could 
plough  in  a  day  and  a  night.  This  woman  was  of  the  race  of  the  <s£sir,  and 
named  Gefiun.  She  took  four  oxen  from  the  north,  from  Jotunheim, 
who  were  her  own  sons  by  a  Jotun,  and  set  them  before  the  plough,  which 
penetrated  so  deeply  that  it  loosened  a  part  of  the  land,  which  the  oxen 
drew  out  to  sea  westwards,  until  they  stopt  in  a  certain  sound,  where 
Gefum  fixed  the  land,  and  gave  it  the  name  of  Saelund.  "Where  the  land 


gins.  She  knows  the  decrees  of  fate  as  well  as  Odin  him 
self.  Loki  upbraids  her  with  being  infatuated  with  the 
fair  youth  that  gave  her  a  necklace,  and  with  yielding  to 
his  embraces  l. 

EIR  is  the  best  leech.  FULLA  is  a  maiden  with  dishevelled 
hair  and  a  golden  band  round  her  head2.  She  bears 
Frigg' s  casket,  has  charge  of  her  foot -covering,  and  knows 
her  secret  council.  GNA  rides  through  the  air  and  over 
the  sea,  on  Frigg's  messages,  on  the  horse  Hofvarpmr. 
Once,  as  she  was  riding,  some  Vanir  saw  her  in  the  air, 
one  of  whom  said, 

What  flies  there  ? 

what  goes  there  ? 

or  is  borne  in  air  ? 
She  answered, 

I  fly  not, 

though  I  go, 

and  am  borne  in  air, 

on  Hofvarpnir, 

that  Hamskerpir 

got  by  Gardarofa. 

HLIN  guards  those  whom  Frigg  is  desirous  of  freeing 
from  peril.  SIOFN  inclines  the  mind  of  both  sexes  to  love  : 
from  her  name  a  lover  is  called  siafni.  LOFN  is  kind  and 
good  to  those  that  invoke  her :  she  has  permission  from 
All-father  or  Frigg  to  unite  those  who  love  each  other,  what 
ever  hindrances  or  difficulties  may  stand  in  the  way.  From 
her  name  is  derived  the  word  lof  (praise,  leave),  because 
she  is  greatly  praised  by  men.  VO'R  hears  the  oaths  and 
vows  of  lovers,  and  punishes  those  who  break  them.  She 

was  ploughed  up  a  lake  formed  itself,  called  in  Sweden  Laugr,  now  the 
Malar  lake.  And  the  bays  and  creeks  in  the  lake  correspond  to  the  pro 
montories  of  Seeland. —  Snorra  Edda,  p.  1.  Thiele,  Danske  Folksagn,  i.  1. 
The  above  is  not  contained  in  the  Upsala  MS.  of  Snorri's  Edda,  which  is 
the  oldest  copy  known. 

1  Gylf.  35.     Lokaglepsa,  Str.  20,  21. 

2  Hofu'Sband  Fullu  (Fulla's  head-band)  is  a  periphrasis  for  gold. 


is  wise,  and  hears  of  everything,  so  that  nothing  can  be 
hidden  from  her.  SYN  guards  the  door  of  the  hall,  and 
locks  it  against  those  that  may  not  enter.  She  is  ap 
pointed  as  the  defender  in  courts  of  those  causes  which 
it  is  endeavoured  to  defeat  by  falsehood.  SNOTRA  is  saga 
cious  and  of  elegant  manners.  From  her  name  a  man  or 
woman  of  sagacity  is  said  to  be  snotr.  SOL  and  BIL  ]  are 
also  reckoned  among  the  goddesses  ;  also  EARTH,  the 
mother  of  Thor,  and  RIND,  the  mother  of  Vali2. 

OF  ODIN'S  HORSE  SLEIPNIR. — Odin  had  a  horse  named 
Sleipnir,  that  was  the  most  excellent  of  horses.  The  fol 
lowing  account  is  given  of  his  origin.  In  the  beginning 
of  time,  when  the  gods  had  founded  Midgard  and  Valhall, 
there  came  a  builder  from  Jotunheim,  who  promised  to 
construct  for  them,  in  three  half-years,  so  strong  a  fast 
ness,  that  neither  the  mountain-giants  nor  the  frost- 
giants  should  be  able  to  take  it,  even  though  they  were  to 
come  over  Midgard,  if  in  recompense  they  would  give  him 
Freyia  together  with  the  sun  and  moon.  The  gods  acqui 
esced  in  his  demand,  provided  he  completed  the  work  in 
one  winter ;  but  if  on  the  first  day  of  summer  augfyt  were 
wanting,  or  if  he  availed  himself  of  any  one's  assistance, 
the  bargain  should  be  void.  The  builder  hereupon  prayed 
that  he  might  be  allowed  to  use  his  horse  Svadilfori 
(SvaJ?ilfori),  to  which  the  ^Esir,  by  the  advice  of  Loki, 
assented.  He  began  his  work  on  the  first  day  of  winter, 
and  during  the  night  his  horse  dragged  the  stones.  The 
/Esir  were  amazed  at  the  immense  size  of  the  stones 
brought  by  the  horse,  which  performed  more  work  by  half 
than  the  builder  himself;  but  there  were  witnesses  to  the 
bargain,  and  many  oaths  taken ;  for  the  giant  would  not 
have  deemed  it  safe  to  be  among  the  ^Esir  without  such 
security,  especially  if  Thor  should  return,  who  was  then 
absent  in  the  eastern  parts,  on  an  expedition  against  the 
1  See  page  6.  2  Gylf<  35)  36 


trolls  (demons).  When  the  winter  drew  near  to  a  close, 
the  fortification  was  far  advanced,  and  was  so  high  and 
strong  that  it  was  secure  from  assault.  When  three  days 
only  were  wanting  to  summer,  the  gateway  was  all  that 
remained  to  be  completed.  Hereupon  the  gods  assem 
bled,  and  deliberated,  and  inquired  whence  the  counsel 
came,  to  give  Freyia  in  marriage  in  Jotunheim,  and  spoil 
air  and  heaven  by  taking  away  the  sun  and  moon  and 
giving  them  to  a  giant.  It  was  agreed  that  such  advice 
could  come  from  no  one  but  Loki,  the  son  of  Laufey,  the 
author  of  so  much  mischief,  whom  they  accordingly 
threatened  with  an  ignominious  death,  if  he  did  not  de 
vise  some  means  of  annulling  the  contract.  Loki  was 
now  terrified,  and  swore  that  the  builder  should  get  no 
payment.  In  the  evening,  when  the  latter  was  gone  with 
his  horse  to  fetch  stones,  a  mare  came  running  out  of  the 
wood  to  the  horse,  and  neighed :  the  horse  hereupon  be 
came  restive,  broke  his  rein,  and  ran  after  the  mare  into 
the  wood,  and  the  giant  after  the  horse;  and  they  ran 
during  the  whole  night.  When  the  builder  saw  that  the 
work  could  not  be  finished  in  the  time,  he  assumed  his 
giant  mood;  but  when  the  ^Esir  found  that  he  was  a 
mountain-giant,  they,  regardless  of  their  oaths,  called 
Thor  to  their  aid,  who  raising  his  hammer  Miolnir,  paid 
him  therewith,  instead  of  the  sun  and  moon,  not  even 
allowing  him  to  return  and  build  in  Jotunheim ;  for  at 
the  first  blow  he  crushed  the  giant's  skull,  and  sent  him 
to  Niflheim.  Loki,  in  his  guise  of  a  mare,  had  conceived 
by  Svadilfori,  and  sometime  after  brought  forth  a  gray 
colt  with  eight  legs l :  that  was  Sleipnir,  Odin's  horse,  on 
which  he  rides  over  land  and  sea2. 

1  In  Jnga  BariSar's  Saga,  c.  20,  Sleipnir  has  four  legs  only.  Runes  were 
inscribed  on  his  teeth  or  rein.  Brynh.  Kv.  i.  15. 

*  Gylf.  42.  Voluspa,  Str.  29,  30.  Grimnism.  Str.  44.  Hyndlulj.  Str. 
37.  Hervarars.  c.  15.  Volsungas.  c.  13. 



ship  was  constructed  in  the  beginning  of  time,  by  the 
dwarfs,  sons  of  Ivaldi2,  who  made  a  present  of  it  to  Frey. 
It  is  the  best  and  most  curiously  constructed  of  all  ships, 
though  Naglfar,  belonging  to  Muspell,  is  the  largest. 
But  respecting  this  famous  ship  there  is  another  story. 
Loki,  out  of  mischief,  once  cut  all  Sif  s  hair  off.  When 
this  came  to  the  knowledge  of  Thor,  he  threatened  to 
crush  every  bone  in  him,  if  he  did  not  get  the  svart- 
elves  to  make  her  a  head  of  hair  of  gold,  that  should 
grow  like  natural  hair.  Loki  thereupon  went  to  the  sons 
of  Ivaldi,  who  made  the  hair  for  him,  together  with  the 
ship  Skidbladnir,  and  the  spear  possessed  by  Odin, 

Loki  afterwards  wagered  his  head  with  the  dwarf  Brock, 
that  the  latter' s  brother  Sindri  (JEitri)  was  unable  to  make 
three  such  precious  things.  They  then  went  to  the  smithy. 
Sindri  laid  a  swine's  skin  on  the  fire,  and  desired  Brock 
to  blow  until  he  took  it  from  the  forge.  But  while  he 
was  gone  out,  and  Brock  stood  blowing,  there  came  a 
gad-fly3,  which  settled  on  his  hand  and  stung  him.  Brock, 
nevertheless,  went  on  blowing  until  his  brother  returned 
and  took  what  was  forged  from  the  fire.  It  was  a  hog 
with  golden  bristles.  The  smith  then  put  gold  into  the  fire, 
and  desiring  his  brother  to  blow  without  intermission 
until  he  returned,  went  away.  The  gad-fly  came  again, 
fixed  itself  on  his  neck,  and  stung  him  twice  as  sorely  as 
before ;  but  Brock  continued  blowing  until  the  smith  came 
back,  and  took  from  the  fire  the  gold  ring  called  Draupnir. 
The  third  time  Sindri  put  iron  into  the  fire,  and  exhorted 
his  brother  to  blow  without  ceasing,  for  else  all  would  be 

1  From  ski$,  a  thin  plank,  and  bla^S,  a  leaf,  &c. 

2  This  Ivaldi,  the  parent  of  certain  dwarfs,  is  not  to  be  confounded  with 
the  elf  Ivald,  the  father  of  Idun. 

3  That  is,  Loki  under  the  form  of  a  gad-fly. 


spoiled.  The  gad-fly  now  took  his  post  over  Brock's  eye, 
and  stung  his  eyebrow ;  and  as  the  blood  trickled  down, 
so  that  he  could  not  see,  he  raised  his  hand  in  haste, 
thereby  causing  the  bellows  for  a  moment  to  stand  still, 
while  he  drove  away  the  gad-fly.  At  this  moment  the 
smith  returned,  and  said  that  what  was  in  the  fire  had 
been  nearly  spoiled.  On  taking  it  forth,  it  proved  to  be 
a  hammer.  Sindri  intrusted  these  things  to  his  brother, 
saying,  he  could  now  go  to  Asgard  and  get  the  wager 
decided.  Sindri  and  Loki  now  appearing,  each  with  his 
treasures,  the  JSsir  took  their  places  on  their  judgement- 
seats,  and  it  was  agreed  that  whatever  Odin,  Thor,  and 
Frey  might  decide  should  be  valid. 

Loki  made  a  present  to  Odin  of  the  spear  Gungnir,  to 
Thor  of  the  hair  for  Sif,  to  Frey  of  Skidbladnir,  and,  at 
the  same  time,  explained  the  virtues  of  these  presents  : 
how  the  spear  never  failed  to  strike  whatever  it  was  aimed 
at;  how  the  hair  would  grow  rapidly  as  soon  as  it  was 
placed  on  Sif 's  head ;  and  that  Skidbladnir  would  always 
have  a  fair  wind,  when  the  sails  were  set,  and  was  withal 
so  capacious  that  it  could  contain  all  the  gods  with  their 
weapons  and  armour,  but,  at  the  same  time,  contrived  so 
ingeniously,  and  of  so  many  pieces,  that  it  might  be  folded 
up  like  a  cloth  and  put  into  one's  pocket. 

Now  came  Brock  forwards  with  his  wonderful  handi 
works.  To  Odin  he  gave  the  ring,  saying  that  every  ninth 
night  eight  rings  equally  precious  would  drop  from  it.  To 
Frey  he  gave  the  hog,  adding  that  it  could  run  more 
swiftly  than  any  horse,  on  air  and  sea,  and  that  even  in 
the  darkest  night  a  sufficiency  of  light  would  shine  from 
its  bristles.  To  Thor  he  gave  the  hammer,  and  said  that 
he  might  strike  with  it  with  all  his  might  whatever  object 
came  before  him,  without  receiving  any  hurt;  however 
far  he  might  cast  it,  he  should  never  lose  it,  but  that 
it  would  always  return  to  his  hand,  and,  whenever  he 


wished  it,  would  become  so  small  that  he  might  put  it  in 
his  pocket :  its  only  defect  was,  that  the  haft  was  rather 

The  judgement  was,  that  the  hammer  was  the  best 
work  of  all,  as  they  would  find  in  it  a  powerful  defence 
against  the  frost-giants;  and  that  the  dwarf  had,  conse 
quently,  won  the  wager.  Loki  offered  ransom  for  his 
head,  but  the  dwarf  rejected  it.  "  Well,  take  me  then,"  said 
Loki ;  but  when  the  dwarf  would  lay  hands  on  him,  he 
was  already  far  away ;  for  he  had  on  shoes  with  which  he 
could  run  both  on  air  and  water.  The  dwarf  then  begged 
of  Thor  to  take  him,  and  he  did  so ;  but  when  he  was 
about  to  cut  his  head  off,  Loki  told  him  that  the  head  was 
his,  but  not  the  neck.  The  dwarf  then  took  a  thong  and 
a  knife,  and  would  pierce  holes  in  Loki's  lips,  in  order  to 
sew  his  mouth  up ;  but  the  knife  would  not  cut.  "  It 
were  well,"  said  he,  "  if  I  now  had  my  brother's  awl,"  and 
the  instant  he  named  it,  it  was  there.  The  awl  did  its 
duty,  and  with  the  thong,  which  was  called  Vartari,  the 
dwarf  stitched  up  the  lips  of  Loki2. 

JEsir  made  peace  with  the  Vanir,  in  token  of  amity,  they 
mingled  their  saliva  in  a  vessel.  Of  the  contents  of  this 
vessel  the  gods  created  the  man  Kvasir.  He  was  so  wise 
that  no  one  could  ask  him  a  question  that  he  was  unable 
to  answer;  and  he  travelled  far  and  wide  to  impart  his 
knowledge  to  mankind.  Being  invited  to  a  feast  by  the 
dwarfs  Fialar  and  Galar,  they  took  him  aside,  under  the  pre 
text  of  a  secret  communication,  and  slew  him.  His  blood 
they  let  run  into  two  vessels,  named  Son  and  Bodn, 
and  into  the  kettle  Odhrserir  (OShrserir).  With  the  blood 
they  mingled  honey,  and  thus  composed  the  mead  which 
makes  every  one  that  partakes  of  it  a  skald  or  a  wise  man. 

1  Owing  to  the  interruption  caused  by  the  gad-fly. 

2  Griranisra.  Str.  43.     Gylf.  43.     Skaldskap.  35. 


To  the  ^Esir  they  said  that  Kvasir  was  drowned  in  his  own 

These  dwarfs  afterwards  invited  to  them  a  giant  named 
Gilling,  and  his  wife,  and  rowed  out  with  him  to  sea ;  but 
when  they  were  some  distance  from  land,  they  ran  on  a 
rock,  and  upset  the  boat,  and  Gilling,  who  could  not  swim, 
was  drowned.  Having  set  the  boat  right,  they  returned 
home.  On  relating  to  Gilling's  wife  what  had  befallen 
her  husband,  she  was  inconsolable,  and  wept  bitterly. 
Fialar  then  asked  her  whether  it  would  alleviate  her  sorrow 
to  look  on  the  sea  where  her  husband  had  perished.  She 
answered  in  the  affirmative,  when  he  desired  his  brother 
Galar  to  go  up  over  the  door,  and  as  she  was  going  out, 
to  let  a  millstone  fall  on  her  head,  as  he  could  not  endure 
her  lamentations.  The  brother  did  as  he  was  desired. 
When  Suttung,  the  son  of  Gilling,  was  informed  of  what 
had  taken  place,  he  set  out,  seized  the  dwarfs,  took  them 
out  to  sea,  and  placed  them  on  a  rock  that  at  high  tide 
was  under  water.  They  prayed  for  their  lives,  and  offered 
to  give  him,  as  blood-fine,  the  precious  mead,  which  he 
accepted.  Suttung  then  took  the  mead  home,  deposited 
it  in  the  mountain  Hnitbiorg,  under  the  custody  of  his 
daughter  Gunnlod.  Hence  it  is  that  poetry  is  called 
Kvasir's  blood,  the  drink  of  the  dwarfs,  Odhrserir's,  or  Son's, 
or  Bodn's  liquor,  or  the  dwarfs'  passage-supply  (because 
it  supplied  the  means  of  saving  their  lives  from  the  rock), 
or  Suttung' s  mead,  or  Hnitbiorg' s  water. 

Odin  being  very  desirous  to  obtain  this  mead,  left  home, 
and  came  to  a  place  where  nine  thralls  were  cutting  hay. 
He  asked  them  whether  he  should  whet  their  sithes.  They 
thanked  him  for  his  offer,  and  taking  a  whetstone  from  his 
belt,  he  sharpened  them  so  that  they  cut  much  better,  and 
they  wished  to  buy  the  stone.  Odin  then  threw  it  up  in 
the  air,  when  in  struggling  to  seize  it,  each  turned  his 
sithe  on  the  neck  of  another.  Odin  sought  shelter  for  the 


night  at  a  giant's  named  Baugi,  a  brother  of  Suttung,  who 
complained  bitterly  of  the  loss  he  had  sustained,  saying 
that  his  nine  thralls  had  killed  each  other,  and  that  he 
knew  not  whence  he  was  to  get  labourers.  Odin,  who  now 
called  himself  Bolverk,  offered  to  perform  the  work  of  nine 
men,  on  condition  of  receiving  in  reward  a  drink  of  Sut- 
tung's  mead.  Baugi  told  him  that  he  had  no  power  over 
the  mead,  and  added,  that  Suttung  wished  to  have  it  all 
to  himself ;  but  that  he  would  go  with  Bolverk,  and  en 
deavour  to  get  it.  During  summer  he  performed  the  work 
of  nine  men  for  Baugi,  and  when  winter  came,  demanded 
his  reward.  They  thereupon  went  to  Suttung,  whom 
Baugi  informed  of  the  agreement,  but  Suttung  would  not 
part  with  a  drop  of  the  mead.  Bolverk  then  proposed  that 
they  should  try  some  stratagem,  if  they  could  not  other 
wise  get  at  the  mead ;  to  which  proposal  Baugi  assented. 
Bolverk  then  produced  the  auger  named  Kati,  and  re 
quested  Baugi,  if  the  auger  were  sharp  enough,  to  bore 
into  the  mountain.  Baugi  did  so,  and  said  that  the  moun 
tain  was  penetrated ;  but  when  Bolverk  blew  into  the  hole, 
the  dust  made  by  the  auger  flew  towards  him,  and  he  found 
that  Baugi  was  deceiving  him,  and  desired  him  to  bore 
again.  He  bored,  and  when  Bolverk  again  blew,  the  dust 
flew  inwards.  Bolverk  now,  assuming  the  form  of  a  worm, 
crept  in.  Baugi  made  a  stab  after  him  with  the  auger, 
but  missed  him.  Bolverk  then  went  to  the  place  where 
Gunnlod  was,  with  whom  he  stayed  three  nights,  and  ob 
tained  her  permission  to  drink  thrice  of  the  mead.  At  the 
first  draught  he  emptied  Odhrserir ;  at  the  second,  Bodn ; 
and  at  the  third,  Son ;  and  thus  drank  up  all  the  mead. 
Then  assuming  an  eagle's  garb,  he  flew  away  with  all  pos 
sible  speed.  But  Suttung,  who  saw  the  eagle's  flight,  also 
took  his  eagle's  plumage,  and  flew  after  him.  When  the 
JEsir  saw  Odin  flying  towards  them,  they  set  out  vessels 
in  the  court,  and  on  entering  Asgard,  he  spat  the  mead 


into  the  vessels.  But  Suttung  was  then  so  close  at  his 
heels,  that  he  nearly  overtook  him,  thereby  causing  some 
of  the  mead  to  go  in  another  direction ;  but  this  not  being 
noticed,  every  one  partook  of  it  that  would.  This  is  called 
the  poetasters'  portion.  Odin  gave  Suttung' s  mead  to  the 
^Esir,  and  to  those  who  can  compose  good  verses ;  there 
fore  is  the  skaldic  art  called  Odin's  booty,  Odin's  find,  and 
his  drink,  and  his  gift,  and  the  drink  of  the  jEsir1. 

this  subject  there  are  two  compositions,  one  in  Ssemund's 
Edda  (Hrafna-galdur  OSins,  or  Odin's  Ravens'  Song), 
further  mention  of  which,  on  account  of  its  obscurity, 
and  consequent  lack  of  interest  to  the  general  reader,  is 
here  omitted;  the  other  is  in  Snorri's  Edda,  and  is  as 

The  ^Esir,  Odin,  Loki  and  Hcenir,  once  set  out  from 
home,  and  took  their  way  over  mountains  and  desert  places, 
where  they  suffered  from  want  of  food ;  but  on  descending 
into  a  valley,  they  perceived  a  herd  of  oxen,  one  of  which 
they  slaughtered  for  the  purpose  of  boiling  it.  When  they 
thought  it  was  done  enough  they  looked  at  it,  but  it  was 
not  boiled  through.  Some  time  after,  they  looked  at  it 
again,  and  still  it  was  not  done.  While  talking  the  matter 
over,  and  wondering  what  could  be  its  cause,  they  heard  a 
voice  above  them,  in  the  branches  of  an  oak,  and  looking 
up,  perceived  an  eagle  of  no  small  dimensions,  which  said 
to  them,  "  If  ye  will  give  me  a  bellyful  of  the  ox,  it  shall 
soon  be  boiled."  They  promised  that  they  would ;  where 
upon  the  eagle  descended  from  the  tree,  placed  himself  on 
the  boiled  carcase,  and  forthwith  snatched  up,  for  his  part, 
one  of  the  thighs  and  both  shoulders.  Seeing  this,  Loki 
waxed  wroth,  and  seizing  a  huge  pole,  thrust  it  with  all 
his  might  at  the  eagle,  which  nevertheless  effected  its 

1  Braganeftur,  57,  58.  Havam.  Str.  14,  15,  106-112.  RunatalsK  0$. 


escape,  and  flew  up,  with  one  end  of  the  pole  hanging  in 
its  body,  and  the  hand  of  Loki  fast  to  the  other.  As  the 
eagle  flew,  Loki's  feet  were  dragged  over  stones,  hillocks 
and  trees,  and  he  thought  his  arm  would  be  torn  from  his 
shoulder.  He  screamed  and  prayed  for  mercy,  but  was 
told  by  the  eagle  that  he  should  not  be  loosed  until  he 
had  sworn  to  bring  Idun  with  her  apples  out  of  Asgard. 
Loki  having  sworn,  was  released  accordingly,  and  with  his 
companions  returned  to  Asgard. 

On  a  certain  time,  he  told  Idun,  that  in  a  wood  just 
without  Asgard  he  had  found  some  splendid  apples,  and 
so  enticed  her  out,  bidding  her  to  take  her  own  with  her,  for 
the  sake  of  comparing  them.  Then  came  the  giant  Thiassi 
in  his  eagle's  plumage  (for  he  was  the  eagle),  seized  Idun, 
and  flew  with  her  to  his  home.  But  it  fared  badly  with 
the  ^Esir  while  Idun  was  absent ;  they  quickly  grew  gray 
and  old.  Thereupon  they  held  a  meeting,  and  inquired 
one  of  another,  who  had  seen  her  last,  when  it  was  found 
that  she  went  out  of  Asgard  with  Loki.  Loki  was  now 
seized,  and  brought  to  the  meeting,  and  threatened  with 
torments  and  death,  if  he  did  not  bring  Idun  back  from 
Jotunheim.  Terrified  at  their  threats,  he  engaged  to  bring 
her  back,  provided  Freyia  would  lend  him  her  falcon's 
plumage ;  having  obtained  which,  he  flew  northwards  to 
Jotunheim,  and  reached  the  abode  of  the  giant,  where  he 
found  Idun  alone,  Thiassi  being  gone  out  to  sea.  Loki 
transformed  her  into  a  nut,  took  her  in  his  talons,  and 
hastily  flew  away.  Thiassi  on  his  return  home  missing 
her,  took  his  eagle's  plumage  and  flew  after  Loki,  and  had 
nearly  caught  him ;  but  the  ^Esir  seeing  the  falcon  with 
the  nut  in  his  talons,  and  the  eagle  closely  following,  went 
to  the  wall  of  the  city,  carrying  with  them  loads  of  chips, 
to  which,  as  soon  as  the  falcon  entered  and  had  glided 
down  within  the  wall,  they  set  fire ;  so  that  the  eagle,  un 
able  to  check  his  rapid  flight,  burned  his  wings,  and  being 


thus  disabled  was  slain  by  the  ^Esir.  Of  Thiassi  we  are 
besides  told  that  his  father's  name  was  Olvaldi,  who  pos 
sessed  much  gold.  His  sons,  Thiassi,  Idi,  and  Gang,  shared 
the  inheritance  among  them,  by  each  in  his  turn  taking  a 

OF  NIORD  (NioRjm)  AND  SKADI  (SKA]?I). — Skadi,  the 
daughter  of  Thiassi,  took  helm  and  corselet,  and  went  fully 
armed  to  Asgard,  to  avenge  the  death  of  her  father.  The 
JSsir  offered  her  peace  and  compensation,  and  granted  her 
permission  to  choose  herself  a  husband  among  them, 
though  under  the  condition  that  she  should  see  their  feet 
only.  She  accordingly  went  round  among  them,  saw  a 
pair  of  handsome  feet,  and  said,  "  This  one  I  choose ;  few 
blemishes  are  to  be  found  in  Baldur."  She  had,  neverthe 
less,  made  a  mistake,  for  the  feet  belonged  to  Niord  of 
Noatun.  Another  article  of  peace  was,  that  one  of  the 
JEisir  should  cause  her  to  laugh,  a  task  successfully  per 
formed  by  Loki,  who  played  some  ludicrous  antics  with  a 
goat.  It  is  further  related,  that  Odin  (or  Thor)  took 
Thiassi's  eyes,  cast  them  up  to  the  heavens,  and  formed  of 
them  two  stars.  Niord  married  Skadi,  but  dissension 
soon  sprang  up  between  them;  for  Skadi  would  dwell 
among  the  mountains,  in  her  father's  abode,  Thrymheim, 
while  Niord  liked  to  be  near  the  sea.  At  length  it  was 
agreed,  that  they  should  stay  alternately  nine  days  in 
Thrymheim,  and  three  in  Noatun2.  But  when  Niord  re 
turned  from  the  mountains  to  his  Noatun,  he  said  : 

Loathsome  are  the  hills ; 
long  seem'd  to  me 
nine  nights  only. 
The  noise  of  wolves 
sounded  ill,  compared 
with  the  swan's  song. 

1  Bragaraeftur,  56.     Hyndlulj.  Str.  29. 

2  Or,  according  to  another  MS.,  "  and  another  nine  in  Noatun/' 


But  Skadi  answered, 

Sleep  I  got  not 

by  the  sea-waves, 

for  wail  of  birds 

from  the  wood  coming ; 

the  sea-mew  me  each  morn 

with  its  scream  waked1. 

She  then  went  up  into  the  mountain,  and  abode  in  Thrym- 
heim,  where  she  runs  on  snow-skates,  and  shoots  wild  beasts 
with  her  bow ;  hence  she  is  called  Ondurgud  or  Ondurdis 
(the  goddess  of  snow-skates).  "  From  her  habitation  and 
fields  ever  come  cold  (pernicious)  counsels  to  Loki,"  who 
had  been  foremost  in  causing  her  father's  death2. 

OF  FREY  AND  GERD  (GER]?R). — Frey  had  one  day  seated 
himself  in  Hlidskialf,  and  was  looking  over  all  the  worlds, 
when  on  turning  to  Jotunheim,  he  there  cast  his  eyes  on 
Gerd,  a  beautiful  maiden,  the  daughter  of  Gymir  and  Aur- 
boda,  relations  of  Thiassi,  as  she  was  going  from  her 
father's  hall  to  her  maiden-bower.  On  raising  her  arms  to 
open  the  door,  both  air  and  water  gave  such  a  reflection 
that  the  whole  world  was  illumined.  Frey  descended  from 
Hlidskialf  with  a  heart  full  of  love  and  care,  went  home, 
spoke  not,  drank  not,  slept  not,  nor  did  any  one  venture 
to  speak  to  him.  This  penalty  Frey  brought  on  himself, 
for  having  presumed  to  sit  in  Odin's  sacred  seat.  On 
seeing  him  in  this  state,  Niord,  his  father,  sent  for  Skir- 
nir,  Frey's  attendant3,  and  bade  him  go  to  his  son  and 

1  See  in  Saxo  (p.  53)  the  Song  of  Hading  and  Regnild,  beginning — 
Hading  loq.     Quid  moror  in  latebris  opacis, 

Collibus  implicitus  scruposis,  &c. 

To  which  Regnild  answers, 

Me  canorus  angit  ales  immorantem  littori 
Et  soporis  indigentem  garriendo  concitat,  &c. 

The  whole  story  of  Hading  and  Regnild  bears  a  striking  resemblance  to 

the  myth  of  Niord  and  Skadi. 

2  BragaraeSur,  56.    Gylf.  23.     Grimnism.  Str.  11.     Harbarftslj.  Str.  19. 
Lokaglepsa,  Str.  50,  51.  3  Skosveinn,  shoe-boy. 


inquire  what  had  so  disturbed  his  temper.  Skirnir  went 
accordingly,  and  asked  his  master,  why  he  sat  all  day  alone 
in  the  great  halls.  "  How,"  answered  Frey,  "  shall  I  de 
scribe  my  affliction  to  thee  ?  The  elves'  illuminator  (the 
sun)  shines  every  day,  but  never  to  my  pleasure."  "  Con 
fide  to  me  thy  sorrow,"  said  Skirnir ;  ' '  at  the  beginning 
of  time  we  lived  young  together,  and  we  ought  to  have 
confidence  in  each  other."  Frey  now  recounted  to  him 
how  he  had  seen,  in  Gymir's  mansion,  the  maid  with  the 
bright  arms;  that  he  loved  her  more  fervently  than  a 
youth  loves  in  the  spring  of  his  days  ;  but  that  neither 
^Esir  nor  Alfar  would  permit  them  to  come  together. 
"Give  me  but  thy  swift  courser,"  said  Skirnir,  " which 
can  bear  me  through  murky  flames,  and  thy  sword,  which 
fells  of  itself  the  giant  race,  when  he  is  stout  who  wields 
it."  Then  rode  Skirnir,  and  said  to  the  horse  :  "  Dark  it 
is  without,  it  is  time  for  us  to  go  over  hoar  mountains, 
amid  giant  folk;  we  shall  both  return,  or  that  mighty 
giant  will  take  us  both."  And  Skirnir  rode  to  Jotunheim, 
to  Gymir's  mansion,  where  he  found  fierce  dogs  chained 
at  the  gate  of  the  enclosure.  He  rode  up  to  a  herdsman 
who  was  sitting  on  a  hillock,  and  asked  him  how  he  could 
pass  by  Gymir's  dogs  and  get  speech  of  the  young  maiden  ? 
"  Art  thou  doomed  to  death,  or  art  thou  a  spectre  ?  never 
wilt  thou  get  speech  of  Gymir's  good  daughter."  To  this 
answer  of  the  herdsman  Skirnir  replied,  "  There  is  a  better 
choice  than  to  sob  for  him  who  voluntarily  meets  death ; 
my  life  was  decreed  to  one  day  only,  and  my  days  deter 
mined  by  fate."  But  Gerd  hears  the  stranger  and  says, 
"  What  noise  of  noises  do  T  hear  in  our  halls  ?  The  earth 
shakes  with  it,  and  all  Gymir's  courts  tremble."  Her 
waiting-maid  answers,  "  Here  is  a  man  without  descended 
from  his  horse,  which  he  lets  graze."  "  Bid  him,"  said 
Gerd,  "  enter  our  hall  and  drink  the  bright  mead,  though 
I  fear  that  my  brother's  slayer  stands  without."  On  his 


entrance  Gerd  says,  "Which  of  the  Alfar's,  or  of  tne 
jEsir's  or  the  wise  Vanir's  sons  art  thou  ?  Why  comest 
thou  alone  over  raging  flames l  to  see  our  halls  ?"  Skirnir 
then  declares  his  errand.  For  a  long  time  she  withstood 
his  prayer,  that  she  would  dwell  with  Frey.  He  promised 
her  eleven  golden  apples,  in  reward  for  her  love,  but  she 
would  not  accept  them.  He  promised  to  give  her  the  ring 
Draupnir,  which  had  been  laid  on  the  pile  with  Odin's 
young  son  Baldur,  but  she  declined  it,  saying  that  she 
lacked  not  gold  in  her  father's  house.  He  threatened  to 
strike  off  her  head,  with  the  bright  sword  that  he  held  in 
his  hand,  under  which  even  the  old  giant  her  father  must 
sink  ;  to  strike  her  with  the  taming  wand ;  that  she  should 
go  where  the  sons  of  men  would  never  see  her  more  \ 
should  pass  her  life  on  the  eagle's  mount,  turned  from  the 
world  towards  Hel,  and  food  should  be  more  loathsome 
to  her  than  Midgard's  serpent2  to  the  sons  of  men  ;  that 
when  she  comes  out  she  should  be  a  spectacle  at  which 
Hrlmnir  and  all  beings  would  stare,  a  monster  set  forth 
for  mockery  and  scorn.  "  Sit,"  said  he,  "  and  I  will  an 
nounce  to  thee  a  dire  flood  of  bitterness,  and  double  mi 
sery.  Terrors  shall  beset  thee  all  the  day  in  the  giants' 
dwellings ;  each  day  shalt  thou  wander  about  without  joy ; 
weeping  shall  be  thy  lot,  instead  of  pastime,  and  tears  shall 
accompany  thy  pain.  With  a  three-headed  giant  thou 
shalt  drag  out  thy  life,  or  die  a  maiden ;  from  morn  to 
morn  thy  mind  shall  be  in  alarm,  and  thou  shalt  be  as  the 
thistle  that  withers  on  the  house-top."  Then  swinging 
over  her  his  magic  wand,  he  pronounced  the  malediction, 
"  Wroth  with  thee  is  Odin  !  Wroth  with  thee  is  the  ^Esir's 
prince  !  Frey  shall  shun  thee,  thou  evil  maiden  !  when 

1  See  the  account  of  Brynhild's  bower  in  the  story  of  the  Volsungs  here 
after  ;  also  Fiblsvinnsmal,  Str.  2.    Such  fiery  fences  round  a  '  borg'  seem  to 
have  been  not  unfrequent. 

2  Of  this  monster  hereafter. 


thou  art  stricken  by  the  vengeance  of  the  gods.  Hear  it, 
giants  !  Hear  it,  frost-giants,  and  sons  of  Suttung1,  and 
ye,  friends  of  the  ^Esir2 !  how  I  forbid  and  hinder  thee 
from  man's  society !  Hrimgrimnir  the  giant  is  named 
that  shall  possess  thee  below  in  the  barred  dwelling  of  the 
dead,  where  misery's  thralls  shall  give  thee  only  goats' 
water  to  drink.  I  cut  for  thee  Thurs3,  and  three  letters, 
feebleness,  frenzy  and  impatience.  I  will  cut  them  off4  as 
I  have  cut  them  on  :  do  thou  only  choose."  ' '  Be  thou 
greeted,  youth  \"  said  Gerd,  "  and  in  welcome  take  the  icy 
cup  filled  with  old  mead ;  although  I  never  thought  to  feel 
well-disposed  towards  a  man  of  the  Vanir's  race."  She 
then  promised  to  be  with  the  son  of  Niord  in  nine  days, 
in  the  warm  wood  of  Barri.  Skirnir  rode  home,  and  an 
nounced  the  happy  result  of  his  journey ;  but  full  of  de 
sire,  Frey  exclaimed,  "  One  night  is  long,  long  are  two ; 
how  shall  I  endure  three  ?  Oftentimes  a  month  seems  to 
me  shorter  than  the  half  of  such  nights  of  desire." 

Frey  having  thus  parted  with  his  sword,  was  unarmed 
when  he  fought  with  Beli5,  whom  he  slew  with  a  stag's 
horn,  although  he  could  have  killed  him  with  his  hand : 
but  the  time  will  come  when  the  loss  of  his  sword  will  cost 
him  more  dearly,  when  MuspelFs  sons  go  forth  to  battle6. 

OF  LORI'S  OFFSPRING. — By  Angurboda  (Angrbofa),  a 
giantess  of  Jotunheim,  Loki  had  three  children,  viz.  the 
wolf  Fenrir,  the  Midgard's  serpent  or  Jormungand,  and 
Hel,  the  goddess  of  death.  When  the  ^Esir  discovered 
that  these  three  were  being  bred  up  in  Jotunheim,  and 
called  to  mind  the  predictions,  that  they  would  prove  a 

1  The  dwarfs.  2  The  elves. 

3  The  name  of  one  of  the  letters  of  the  runic  alphabet. 

4  "  I  will  cut  them  off,"  that  is,  "  I  will,  by  erasing  the  runes,  dissolve 
the  spell,"  in  the  case  of  Gerd's  compliance. 

5  The  myth  of  Frey  and  Beli  is  lost. 

6  Gylf.  37.     Skirnisfor,  Lokaglepsa,  Str.  42.    Voluspa,  Str.  54.    Hynd- 
lulj.  Str.  29. 


source  of  great  calamity  to  them,  there  being  much  evil  to 
expect  from  them  on  the  mother's  side,  and  still  more  on 
the  father's,  All-father  sent  the  gods  to  fetch  the  chil 
dren.    When  they  came,  he  cast  the  serpent  into  the  deep 
ocean  which  surrounds  all  lands ;  but  there  it  grew  and 
became  so  great  that  it  encircles  the  whole  world,  and  bites 
its  own  tail.    From  hence  it  heaves  itself  up  with  violence 
towards  heaven,  rises  up  on  land,  causes  the  air  to  tremble, 
and  sends  snow,   and  stormy  winds,  and  pattering  rain 
over  the  earth.    Hel  he  cast  down  into  Niflheim,  and  gave 
her  authority  over  nine  worlds,  that  she  might  assign  their 
places  to  those  who  are  sent  to  her,  namely,  all  those  that 
die  of  sickness  or  age.     Her  abode  of  vast  extent  is  sur 
rounded  by  a  high  enclosure  with  large  gates.     Her  hall 
is  called  Eliudnir  (nimbos  sive  procellas  late  accipiens) ; 
her  dish,  Hungr  (hunger) ;  her  knife,  Sullt  (starvation) ; 
her  serving-man,  Ganglati  (slowly  moving) ;  her  woman- 
servant,  Ganglot  (the  same,  but  feminine) ;  her  threshold, 
Fallanda  forat  (perilous  precipice) ;  her  bed,  Kor  (the  bed 
of  sickness) ;    her  curtains   or  hangings,  Blikianda  bol 
(splendid  misery).     She  is  half  black,  half  flesh-coloured, 
and  therefore  easily  recognised,  and  very  fierce  and  grim 
of  aspect.     The  wolf  was  bred  up  among  the  ^Esir ;  but 
only  Ty  had  the  courage  to  give  him  food.     When  the 
gods   saw  how  much  he  increased  daily,  and  as  all  the 
predictions  declared  that  he  was  destined  to  be  their  de 
struction,  they  resolved  on  having  a  very  strong  chain 
made  for  him,  called  Lseding  (Lsejnngr),  which  they  took 
to  the  wolf,  that  he  might  prove  his  strength  on  it.     The 
wolf,  to  whom  the  chain  did  not  appear  over  strong,  let 
them   do  as  they  would;  but  the  moment  he  stretched 
himself  it  brake,   and  he  was  again  loose.     They  then 
made  another  chain  half  as  strong  again,  called  Dromi. 
This  likewise  the  wolf  was  to  try,  they  assuring  him  that 
he  would  be  renowned  for  his  strength,  if  so  strong  a  bond 


could  not  confine  him.  The  wolf  saw  plainly  that  this 
chain  was  exceedingly  strong,  but  at  the  same  time  felt 
that  his  power  was  greatly  increased  since  he  brake  the 
bond  Lseding.  It  likewise  occurred  to  him,  that  if  he 
would  become  famous,  he  must  expose  himself  to  some 
risk.  He  therefore  allowed  them  to  fasten  him  with  the 
chain.  When  the  .ZEsir  had  chained  him,  the  wolf  shook 
himself,  kicked,  and  dashed  it  on  the  earth,  so  that  the 
fragments  flew  far  away.  Thus  did  he  free  himself  from 
Dromi.  It  is  since  become  a  proverb,  "  to  get  loose  from 
Lseding,"  or,  "  to  burst  out  of  Dromi/'  when  anything  is 
to  be  done  with  great  exertion. 

The  ^Esir  being  now  fearful  that  they  would  be  unable 
to  bind  the  wolf,  sent  Skirnir,  Frey's  messenger,  to  some 
dwarfs  in  Svart-Alfheim,  and  caused  them  to  make  the 
chain  Gleipnir,  which  was  composed  of  six  materials,  viz. 
the  sound  of  a  cat's  footsteps,  a  woman's  beard,  the  roots 
of  a  mountain,  a  bear's  sinews,  a  fish's  breath,  and  a  bird's 
spittle.  This  chain  was  as  soft  and  supple  as  a  silken  cord, 
though  of  exceedingly  great  strength.  The  gods  then, 
taking  the  wolf  with  them,  went  to  the  isle  of  Lyngvi,  in 
the  lake  Amsvartnir.  There  they  showed  him  the  bond, 
asking  him  whether  he  could  snap  it  asunder,  as  it  was 
somewhat  stronger  than,  judging  from  its  thickness,  it  ap 
peared  to  be.  They  then  handed  it  from  one  to  another, 
and  tried  to  break  it,  but  in  vain :  "  but  the  wolf,"  said 
they,  "  could  easily  break  it  in  pieces."  The  wolf  an 
swered,  "  It  does  not  seem  to  me  that  any  great  honour 
is  to  be  gained  by  breaking  so  slender  a  thread,  but  as 
some  cunning  and  deception  may  have  been  employed  in 
making  it  appear  so  slight,  it  shall  never  come  on  my  feet." 
The  ^Esir  said,  that  he  might  easily  break  a  silken  cord, 
having  already  snapt  asunder  such  strong  bonds  of  iron, 
and  adding,  "  Even  if  thou  canst  not  break  it,  thou  hast 
nothing  to  fear  from  us,  for  we  shall  instantly  release 

D  2 


thee."     The  wolf  answered,  "  If  ye  bind  me  so  fast  that  I 
cannot  free  myself  again,  I  am  well  convinced  that  I  shall 
wait  long  to  be  released  by  you  :  I  am,  therefore,  not  at 
all  desirous  to  let  the  cord  be  fastened  on  me.    But  rather 
than  that  ye  shall  accuse  me  of  want  of  courage,  let  one  of 
you  place  his  hand  in  my  mouth  as  a  pledge  that  there  is 
no  guile  in  the  case."     The  gods  now  looked  at  one  an 
other,  but  not  one  would  put  forth  his  hand.     At  length 
Ty  stretched  forth  his  right  hand,  and  placed  it  within  the 
jaws  of  the  wolf.  The  wolf  now  began  to  struggle,  and  the 
more  he  strove  to  get  loose,  the  more  tightly  did  the  bond 
bind  him.     Hereat  they  all  set  up  a  laugh,  except  Ty, 
who  lost  his  hand  for  his  rashness.     When  the  Msir  saw 
that  the  wolf  was  effectually  bound,  they  took  the  end  of 
the  chain,  called  Gelgia,  which  was  fastened  to  the  bond, 
and  drew  it  through  a  huge  rock  named  Gioll,  which  they 
secured  far  down  in  the  earth,  and  beat  down  still  lower  with 
a  fragment  of  rock  named  Thviti.  In  his  yawning  jaws  they 
stuck  a  sword,  the  hilt  of  which  was  driven  into  his  lower 
jaw,  while  the  point  penetrated  the  upper  one.     He  howls 
dreadfully,  and  the  foam  that  issues  from  his  mouth  forms 
the  river  called  Von  ;  whence  he  is  also  called  Vanargand 
(Vanarganndr).     There  will  he  lie  till  Ragnarock  l. 

Of  Thor  and  his  journeys  there  were  many  stories,  of 
which  the  following  are  preserved. 

for  his  amusement  had  one  day  flown  out  in  Frigg's  fal 
con-plumage,  and  came  to  the  mansion  of  Geirrod,  where 
seeing  a  spacious  hall,  and  prompted  by  curiosity,  he 
perched  himself,  and  peeped  in  at  a  window.  Geirrod 
having  caught  a  glimpse  of  him,  ordered  one  of  his  people 
to  catch  and  bring  the  bird  to  him ;  but  the  man  to  whom 
the  order  was  given  found  difficulty  in  clambering  up 

1  Gylf.  34.    Hyndlulj.  Str.  37-39.    Lokaglepsa,  Str.  38. 

2  See  a  travestie  of  this  story  in  Saxo,  pp.  420-428. 


along  the  high  wall,  and  Loki,  who  sat  chuckling  over  the 
difficulties  the  man  had  to  encounter,  fancied  he  could  fly 
away  before  he  had  surmounted  them.  So  when  at  length 
the  man  made  a  grasp  at  him,  Loki  flapped  his  wings,  in 
order  to  fly  away ;  but  his  feet  having  got  entangled  in 
something,  he  was  caught  and  brought  to  the  giant,  who  as 
soon  as  he  looked  at  his  eyes  suspected  that  he  was  a  man, 
and  commanded  him  to  speak  ;  but  Loki  was  silent.  The 
giant  then  locked  him  up  in  a  chest,  where  he  had  to  un 
dergo  a  fast  of  three  months'  duration.  At  length  the 
giant  took  him  out,  and  again  ordered  him  to  speak,  when 
Loki  told  him  who  he  was ;  and,  to  save  his  life,  promised 
on  oath  that  he  would  bring  Thor  thither,  without  either 
hammer  or  belt  of  power.  Loki  persuaded  Thor  to  un 
dertake  the  journey.  On  their  way  they  stopt  at  the 
giantess  Grid's  (Gri}?r),  the  mother  of  Vidar  the  Silent, 
who  advised  Thor  to  be  on  his  guard  against  Geirrod,  who 
was  a  crafty  knave,  with  whom  it  was  not  desirable  to  have 
any  intercourse.  She  at  the  same  time  lent  him  a  belt  of 
power,  an  iron  glove,  and  her  staff  named  Gridarvoll. 
Pursuing  their  journey,  they  came  to  the  river  Vimur,  the 
greatest  of  all  rivers,  to  cross  which  Thor  girded  himself 
with  the  belt,  and  supported  himself  against  the  stream 
on  Grid's  staff,  while  Loki  took  fast  hold  of  the  belt.  On 
reaching  the  middle  of  the  stream,  they  found  it  so  greatly 
increased  that  the  water  washed  over  Thorns  shoulders ; 
when,  on  looking  up  towards  a  part  of  the  river  between 
two  steep  rocks,  he  perceived  Gialp,  one  of  Geirrod's 
daughters,  standing  with  a  foot  on  each  bank,  and  found 
that  it  was  she  who  had  caused  the  river  to  rise ;  where 
upon,  seizing  a  heavy  stone,  he  cast  it  at  her,  saying, 
"  The  river  must  be  stopt  at  its  spring."  At  the  same 
time  wading  towards  the  shore,  he  took  hold  of  some  sorb- 
bushes,  and  so  got  to  land.  Hence  the  proverb  :  "  The 
sorb  is  Thorns  salvation."  When  he  came  to  Geirrod's,  a 


lodging  was  assigned  him  in  a  chamber  where  there  was 
only  one  chair;  sitting  on  which,  he  found  that  the  seat 
rose  with  him  up  to  the  roof,  whereupon,  placing  Grid's 
staff  against  the  rafters,  and  pressing  against  it  with  all 
his  might,  a  loud  crash  was  heard,  accompanied  by  an 
appalling  cry.  Geirrdd's  daughters,  Gialp  and  Greip,  were 
under  the  seat,  and  Thor  had  broken  their  backs.  After 
this  Geirrod  invited  Thor  into  his  hall  to  play.  Along 
one  side  of  the  hall  were  huge  fires,  from  which,  as  Thor 
came  just  opposite  to  Geirrod,  the  latter,  with  a  pair  of 
tongs,  snatched  a  red-hot  iron  wedge,  and  hurled  it  at 
Thor,  who  catching  it  with  his  iron  glove  cast  it  back. 
Geirrod  took  refuge  behind  an  iron  pillar,  but  Thor  had 
hurled  the  wedge  with  such  force,  that  it  passed  through 
the  pillar,  through  Geirrod,  through  the  wall,  and  deep 
into  the  earth  without1. 

THE  HAMMER  FETCHED. — Ving-Thor  awoke  and  missed 
his  hammer ;  his  beard  shook,  and  his  head  trembled  with 
rage.  He  made  known  his  loss  to  Loki,  and  they  went 
to  Freyia's  fair  abode,  to  borrow  her  falcon -plumage.  In 
this  Loki  flew  to  Jotunheim,  and  found  the  giant  chieftain, 
Thrym,  sitting  on  an  eminence  without  his  dwelling,  plait 
ing  a  collar  of  gold  for  his  dog,  and  smoothing  the  manes 
of  his  horses.  "  How  fares  it  with  the  .ZEsir,"  said  he, 
"  and  how  with  the  Alfar  ?  Why  comest  thou  alone  to 
the  giants'  land?"  "Ill  fares  it  with  the  JEsir,  ill  with 
the  Alfar.  Hast  thou  hidden  Hlorridi's  hammer?"  an- 

1  Skaldskap.  18.  According  to  the  popular  belief,  the  lightning  is 
accompanied  by  a  black  bolt  or  projectile,  which  penetrates  as  far  as  the 
highest  church  steeple  is  long  into  the  earth,  but  rises  towards  the  sur 
face  every  time  it  thunders,  and  at  the  expiration  of  seven  years  again 
makes  its  appearance  on  the  earth.  Every  house  in  which  such  a  stone 
is  preserved  is  secure  from  the  effects  of  thunder-storms,  on  the  approach 
of  which  it  begins  to  sweat.  Grimm,  D.  M.  pp.  163-165.  The  same 
idea  seems  expressed  by  the  myth  that  the  hammer  always  returns  to 
Thor's  hand.  See  p.  39. 


swered  Loki.     "  Yes,"  replied  Thrym,  "  I  have  hidden  it 
nine  miles  underground,  and  no  one  shall  get  it  back, 
unless  he  brings  me  Freyia  for  a  bride."     Loki  then  flew 
back  in  his  rustling  plumage,  with  the  giant's  message, 
and  informed  Thor  where  the  hammer  was,  and  of  the 
condition  on  which  alone  it  could  be  recovered.     On  this 
they  both  went  to  the  lovely  Freyia,  to  whom  they  com 
municated  the  affair,  and  Loki  said,  "  Adorn  thyself  then 
with  a  bridal  veil,  and  we  two  will  go  together  to  Jotun- 
heim."     But  Freyia  snorted  with  anger,  so  that  the  hall 
trembled  under  her,  and  her  necklace,  the  Brisinga-men, 
snapt  asunder,  and  she  said,  "  I  must,  indeed,  be  very  fond 
of  men's  society,  if  I  went  with  thee  to  Jotunheim."     All 
the  JEsiY  now  held  a  meeting,  and  all  the  goddesses  went 
to  their  rendezvous,  to  consult  how  the  hammer  should  be 
recovered.     Then  said  Heimdall  the  Wise,  who  as  a  Van 
saw  well  into  the  future,  "  Let  us  bind  a  bridal  veil  on 
Thor,  and  decorate  him  with  the  Brisinga-men ;  let  keys 
jingle  at  his  side,  female  attire  fall  about  his  knees,  pre 
cious  stones  adorn  his  breast,  and  an  elegant  head-dress 
his  head."     But  Thor,  the  mighty  god,  answered,  "  The 
^Esir  would  jeer  me,  if  I  allowed  myself  to  be  dressed  out 
in  a  bridal  veil."    Loki  then  represented  to  them  that  the 
giants  would  take  up  their  abode  in  Asgard,  if  Thor  did 
not  fetch  back  his  hammer.     So  they  bound  a  bridal  veil 
on  Thor,  and  decorated  him  with  the  famed  Brisinga-men, 
let  keys  jingle  at  his  side,  female  attire  fall  about  his 
knees,  set  precious  stones  on  his  breast,  and  an  elegant 
head-dress    on   his   head.     Loki  accompanied  him  as  a 
waiting-maid.     The  goats  ran,  the  mountains  burst,  the 
earth  stood  in  a  blaze,  when  Odin's  son  drove  to  Jotun- 
heim.    Then  said  the  giant  chief,  "  Stand  up,  giants  !  lay 
cushions  on  the  benches,  and  lead  to  me  Freyia  as  a  bride. 
Let  gold-horned  cows  and  coal-black  oxen  be  brought  in 
multitudes  to  my  dwelling.    Of  ornaments  I  have  enough, 


enough  of  treasures l ',  Freyia  alone  was  wanting  to  my 

Early  in  the  evening  the  giants  assembled,  and  the 
festivity  began.  Thor  alone  devoured  an  ox,  eight  salmon, 
and  all  the  dainties  that  are  offered  to  ladies ;  to  which, 
by  way  of  slaking  his  thirst,  he  added  three  huge  vessels 
of  mead.  In  amazement  Thrym  exclaimed,  "Never  did 
I  see  a  bride  eat  so  voraciously,  or  drink  so  much  mead." 
But  the  prudent  waiting- maid  said,  "  For  eight  nights 
and  days  Freyia  has  eaten  nothing,  so  fervently  did  she 
long  after  Jotunheim."  The  giant  then  raised  her  veil, 
and  bent  forwards,  with  the  intention  of  kissing  his  bride, 
but  starting  back  in  terror,  rushed  through  the  hall,  ex 
claiming,  "  Why  has  Freyia  so  piercing  a  look  ?  Her  eyes 
burn  like  fire."  But  the  wily  waiting-maid  answered, 
"  For  eight  nights  and  days  Freyia  has  had  no  sleep,  so 
fervently  did  she  long  after  Jotunheim."  Then  came  in 
the  giant's  unlucky  sister,  to  ask  for  a  bridal  gift,  and 
said,  "  Give  me  the  rings  of  red  gold  from  thy  hand,  if 
thou  wilt  gain  my  love  and  favour."  Thrym  then  said, 
"  Bring  now  the  hammer  in,  to  consecrate  the  bride ;  lay 
Miolnir  in  the  maiden's  lap,  and  unite  us  in  the  name  of 
Vor2."  But  the  heart  of  Hlorridi,  the  stalwart  god, 
laughed  in  his  breast,  when  he  felt  the  hammer  in  his 
hand.  First  he  slew  Thrym,  then  the  whole  giant  tribe ; 
and  the  giant's  sister  got  gashes  for  skillings,  and  hammer- 
strokes  for  ruddy  rings.  And  thus  did  Odin's  son  get 
his  hammer  again3. 

Or  THOR  AND  UTGARDA-LoKi4. — Once  on  a  time  Thor 

1  Indians,  Greeks  and  Scandinavians  have  been  accustomed  to  adorn 
the  horns  of  cows  with  gilding.     It  has  been  remarked  that  even  in  recent 
times  the  practice  is  not  quite  obsolete  in  the  North  ;  the  ox  that  was 
given  to  the  people  at  the  coronation  of  Christian  VII.  having  had  gilded 
horns.   F.  Magnusen,  Den  ^Eldre  Edda,  ii.  124. 

2  See  page  35.  3  Hamarsheimt. 
4  See  a  travestie  of  this  story  in  Saxo,  pp.  429,  sq. 


drove  out  in  his  chariot  with  the  goats,  together  with  Asa- 
Loki,  and  in  the  evening  they  came  to  a  countryman's 
house.  The  goats  were  killed  and  boiled,  and  Thor  in 
vited  the  countryman  and  his  wife,  his  son  Thialfi,  and  his 
daughter  Roskva  to  partake  of  the  repast;  and  desired 
them  to  throw  the  bones  into  the  goat-skins,  which  he 
had  laid  by  the  side  of  the  hearth.  But  Thialfi  broke  a 
thigh-bone,  in  order  to  get  at  the  marrow.  Thor  remained 
there  during  the  night,  rose  at  dawn,  raised  Miolnir  on 
high,  consecrated  the  goat-skins  with  it,  and  the  goats 
sprang  up,  but  one  was  lame  of  a  hind-leg.  He  called  to 
the  countryman,  who  was  ready  to  sink  on  seeing  the 
angry  brow  of  the  god,  and  his  knuckles  white  with 
clenching  the  haft  of  Miolnir.  Both  the  man  and  his 
family  sued  for  pardon,  and  offered  to  give  all  they  pos 
sessed,  in  compensation  for  the  misfortune.  Thor  seeing 
them  thus  terrified,  mitigated  his  anger,  and  contented 
himself  with  taking  Thialfi  and  Roskva  as  his  servants, 
who  attended  him  ever  after.  Leaving  the  goats  behind, 
he  resolved  on  proceeding  eastward  to  Jotunheim,  in  the 
direction  of  the  sea,  which  he  crossed,  accompanied  by 
Loki,  Thialfi,  and  Roskva.  After  travelling  a  short  di 
stance  they  came  to  a  vast  forest,  in  which  they  journeyed 
the  whole  day  till  dark;  Thialfi,  who  of  all  men  was 
swiftest  of  foot,  bearing  Thor's  wallet,  though  provisions 
to  fill  it  were  not  easily  to  be  had.  Looking  now  on  all 
sides  for  a  place  wherein  to  pass  the  night,  they  found  a 
very  spacious  house,  with  a  door  at  one  end  as  broad  as 
the  house  itself.  They  entered,  and  betook  themselves  to 
rest ;  but  at  midnight  the  earth  shook  under  them,  and 
the  house  trembled.  Thor  arose  and  called  to  his  com 
panions.  Groping  their  way,  they  found  a  chamber  on 
the  right,  which  they  entered,  but  Thor  set  himself  in  the 
door-way  with  hammer  in  hand.  Those  within  were  much 
terrified,  for  they  heard  a  great  din  and  crash.  At  dawn 

D  5 


Thor  went  out,  and  saw  a  man  of  gigantic  stature  lying 
close  by  in  the  forest :  he  was  sleeping,  and  snored 
loudly.  Thor,  who  could  now  understand  whence  the 
noise  during  the  night  proceeded,  buckled  his  belt  of 
power  about  him,  by  which  his  divine  might  was  increased. 
At  this  moment  the  man  awoke,  and  stood  up.  It  is  said 
that  Thor  did  not  venture  to  strike  him  with  his  hammer, 
but  merely  asked  him  his  name.  He  was  called  Skrymir 
or  Skrymnir.  "  I  need  not,"  said  he,  "  inquire  thy  name, 
for  I  know  thou  art  Asa-Thor ;  but  what  hast  thou  done 
with  my  glove  V  At  the  same  moment  stooping  down 
and  taking  up  his  glove.  Thor  then  saw  that  the  house 
in  which  they  had  passed  the  night  was  the  glove,  and 
the  chamber  its  thumb.  Skrymir  then  asked  whether 
he  might  accompany  them ;  Thor  answered  in  the  affirma 
tive.  Skrymir  then  untied  his  wallet,  and  began  eating 
his  breakfast,  while  Thor  and  his  companions  did  the 
same,  though  -in  another  place.  He  then  proposed  that 
they  should  lay  their  provisions  together,  to  which  Thor 
also  assented.  Skrymir  then  put  all  the  provisions  into 
one  bag,  took  it  on  his  back,  and  walked  stoutly  on 
before  them.  Late  in  the  evening  Skrymir  sought  a 
resting-place  for  them  under  a  large  oak,  saying  that  he 
would  lie  down  and  sleep  :  "  But,"  added  he,  "  do  you  take 
the  wallet,  and  prepare  your  supper."  Skrymir  immedi 
ately  began  to  sleep,  and  snored  lustily.  Thor  now  took 
the  wallet  to  open  it,  and,  incredible  as  it  may  seem,  could 
not  untie  a  single  knot,  nor  make  one  strap  looser  than 
it  was  before.  Seeing  that  all  his  exertions  were  fruitless, 
Thor  grew  angry,  and  grasping  Miolnir  with  both  hands, 
and  advancing  one  foot,  struck  Skrymir,  where  he  was 
lying,  a  blow  on  the  head.  At  this  Skrymir  awoke,  and 
asked  whether  a  leaf  had  fallen  on  his  head  ?  whether  they 
had  supped  and  were  ready  for  bed  ?  Thor  answered  that 
they  were  then  going  to  sleep.  They  went  then  under 


another  oak.  At  midnight  Thor  heard  Skrymir  snoring 
so  that  it  resounded  like  thunder  through  the  forest.  He 
arose  and  approached  him,  clenching  his  hammer  with  all 
his  might,  and  struck  him  on  the  crown  of  the  head,  so 
that  the  hammer's  head  sank  deep  into  his  skull.  Skrymir 
on  this  awoke,  saying,  "  What  is  that  ?  Did  an  acorn  fall 
on  my  head  ?  How  goes  it  with  thee,  Thor  ?"  But  Thor 
stept  quickly  back,  saying  he  was  just  awake ;  that  as  it 
was  only  midnight,  they  might  sleep  a  while  longer.  He 
now  thought  that  if  he  could  only  succeed  in  giving  him 
a  third  blow,  it  was  not  probable  he  would  ever  see  the 
light  again;  and  lay  watching  until  Skrymir  had  again 
fallen  asleep.  Towards  daybreak,  perceiving  that  the  giant 
slept  soundly,  he  arose,  raised  Miolnir  with  all  his  might, 
and  struck  Skrymir  a  blow  on  the  temple,  so  that  the 
hammer  sank  up  to  the  haft.  But  Skrymir,  raising  himself 
and  stroking  his  chin,  said,  "Are  there  any  birds  above 
me  in  the  tree  ?  It  seemed  as  I  woke  that  a  feather  fell 
from  the  boughs  on  my  head.  Art  thou  awake,  Thor  ? 
It  is  now  time  to  get  up  and  dress  yourselves,  though  you 
are  not  far  from  the  city  called  Utgard  (UtgarJ?r) .  I  have 
heard  you  chatting  together,  and  saying  that  I  was  a  man 
of  no  small  stature ;  but  you  will  see  men  still  taller,  when 
you  come  to  Utgard.  I  will  give  you  a  piece  of  good 
advice :  do  not  make  too  much  of  yourselves,  for  the  fol 
lowers  of  Utgarda-Loki  will  not  feel  inclined  to  endure 
big  words  from  such  mannikins.  If  you  will  take  my 
advice,  you  will  turn  back,  and  that  will,  I  think,  be  much 
better  for  you ;  but  if  you  are  resolved  on  proceeding,  keep 
in  an  eastward  direction.  My  course  lies  northwards  to 
the  mountains  yonder."  Then  swinging  his  wallet  across 
his  shoulders,  Skrymir  left  them,  and  took  the  path  lead 
ing  into  the  forest ;  and  it  has  never  been  heard  that  the 
ir  wished  ever  to  meet  with  him  again. 
Thor  and  his  companions  travelled  till  the  hour  of  noon, 


when  they  saw  before  them  a  city,  on  a  vast  plain,  so  high 
that  they  had  to  bend  back  their  necks  in  order  to  see  to 
the  top  of  it.  The  entrance  was  protected  by  a  barred 
gate,  which  was  locked.  Thor  endeavoured  to  open  it, 
and  failed ;  but  being  desirous  to  enter,  they  crept  through 
the  bars,  and  so  gained  admission.  Before  them  was  a 
spacious  hall  with  open  door,  into  which  they  passed, 
where,  on  two  benches,  sat  a  company  of  men,  most  of 
them  very  gigantic.  They  then  went  before  the  king, 
Utgarda-Loki,  and  greeted  him ;  but  he,  just  glancing  at 
them,  said  with  a  contemptuous  smile,  "  It  is  wearying  to 
ask  of  travellers  the  particulars  of  a  long  journey ;  but  is 
my  surmise  correct  that  this  little  fellow  is  Auku-Thor  ? 
though,  perhaps,  you  are  taller  than  you  appear  to  be. 
What  feats  can  you  and  your  followers  perform  ?  for  no 
one  is  suffered  here,  who  in  one  or  other  art  or  talent  does 
not  excel  others."  Then  said  Loki,  who  entered  last, 
"  One  feat  I  can  exhibit,,  and  which  I  am  willing  to  per 
form  forthwith,  and  that  is  that  I  can  devour  my  food  as 
expeditiously  as  any  one."  Utgarda-Loki  answered,  "  That 
is  certainly  a  notable  feat,  provided  thou  art  able  to  per 
form  it,  and  that  we  will  put  to  the  proof."  He  then 
called  a  man  from  the  bench,  by  name  Logi  (name),  and 
commanded  him  to  try  his  power  with  Loki.  A  trough 
full  of  meat  was  then  placed  on  the  floor,  at  one  end  of 
which  Loki  seated  himself,  and  Logi  at  the  other.  Each 
ate  to  the  best  of  his  ability,  and  they  met  in  the  middle 
of  the  trough.  Loki  had  eaten  all  the  meat  from  the 
bones,  while  Logi  had  swallowed  down  meat,  and  bones, 
and  the  trough  into  the  bargain.  All  were,  therefore, 
unanimous  that  Loki  was  the  loser  at  this  game.  Utgarda- 
Loki  then  asked  at  what  game  that  young  man  could  play  ? 
Thialfi  answered,  that  he  would  try  a  race  with  any  one 
that  Utgarda-Loki  might  select.  Utgarda-Loki  said  that 
that  was  a  goodly  craft,  but  added,  that  he  must  be  very 


swift-footed  if  lie  hoped  to  win  at  that  game.  He  then 
rose  and  went  out.  Without  on  the  plain  there  was  a 
noble  race-ground.  Utgarda-Loki  called  to  a  young  man 
named  Hugi  (thought),  and  ordered  him  to  run  a  race  with 
Thialfi.  In  the  first  run  Hugi  was  so  greatly  ahead,  that 
when  he  had  reached  the  goal,  he  turned  and  came  to 
meet  Thialfi.  "  Thou  must  step  out  better  than  that," 
said  Utgarda-Loki,  "  if  thou  wilt  win ;  though  I  must  allow 
that  no  one  has  ever  come  here  before  more  swift-footed 
than  thou."  They  now  tried  a  second  race.  When  Hugi 
was  at  the  goal  and  turned  round,  there  was  a  long  bow 
shot  between  him  and  Thialfi.  "  Thou  art  certainly  a  good 
runner,"  said  Utgarda-Loki,  "  but  thou  wilt  not,  I  think, 
gain  the  victory ;  though  that  will  be  seen  when  thou  hast 
tried  the  third  course.  They  now  ran  the  third  time,  and 
when  Hugi  had  already  reached  the  goal,  Thialfi  had  not 
arrived  at  the  middle  of  the  course.  All  were  now  una 
nimous  that  these  trials  were  quite  sufficient. 

Utgarda-Loki  now  inquired  of  Thor  what  the  perform 
ances  were  which  he  wished  to  exhibit  before  them,  and 
which  might  justify  the  general  report  as  to  his  great 
prowess.  Thor  answered  that  he  would  undertake  to  drink 
with  any  of  his  men.  With  this  proposal  Utgarda-Loki 
was  content,  and  returning  to  the  hall,  ordered  his  cup 
bearer  to  bring  the  horn  of  atonement,  or  punishment,  out 
of  which  his  men  were  wont  to  drink,  saying,  "  When  any 
one  empties  this  horn  at  one  draught,  we  call  it  well 
drunk ;  some  empty  it  in  two,  but  no  one  is  so  great  a 
milksop  that  he  cannot  manage  it  in  three."  Thor  looked 
at  the  horn,  which  did  not  appear  to  him  particularly 
capacious,  though  it  seemed  rather  long.  Being  very 
thirsty,  he  applied  it  to  his  mouth  and  took  a  long  pull, 
thinking  there  would  be  no  occasion  for  him  to  have  re 
course  to  it  more  than  once ;  but  on  setting  the  horn  down 
to  see  how  much  of  the  liquor  had  vanished.,  he  found  there 


was  nearly  as  much  in  it  as  before.  "  Thou  hast  drunk 
some,  but  no  great  deal,"  said  Utgarda-Loki.  "  I  could 
not  have  believed  it,  had  it  been  told  me,  that  Asa-Thor 
was  unable  to  drink  more.  I  am  sensible,  however,  that 
thou  wilt  drink  it  all  at  the  second  draught."  Instead  of 
answering,  Thor  set  the  horn  to  his  mouth,  resolved  on 
taking  a  greater  draught  than  before,  but  could  not  raise 
the  tip  of  the  horn  so  high  as  he  wished,  and  on  taking  it 
from  his  mouth,  it  seemed  to  him  that  he  had  imbibed  still 
less  than  at  the  first  pull  ;  though  now  the  horn  was  easy 
to  carry  without  spilling.  Utgarda-Loki  then  said,  "  How 
now,  Thor,  hast  thou  not  left  more  than  thou  canst  con 
veniently  quaff  off  in  one  draught  ?  It  appears  to  me  that 
if  thou  art  to  empty  the  horn  at  the  third  pull,  thou  hast 
left  for  that  the  greatest  portion.  But  thou  wilt  not  be 
thought  so  great  a  man  here  with  us  as  thou  art  said  to 
be  among  the  ^Esir,  if  thou  dost  not  distinguish  thyself 
more  at  other  games  than,  as  it  seems  to  me,  thou  art 
likely  to  do  at  this."  At  this  speech  Thor  waxed  angry, 
raised  the  horn  to  his  mouth  and  drank  a  third  time  with 
all  his  might,  and  as  long  as  he  was  able ;  but  when  he 
looked  into  the  horn,  he  saw  that  a  part  only  of  its  con 
tents  had  disappeared.  He  then  put  the  horn  aside  and 
would  have  no  more.  "It  is  now  pretty  plain,"  said 
Utgarda-Loki,  "  that  thou  art  not  quite  so  mighty  as  we 
thought  thee.  Art  thou  inclined  to  try  any  other  feats, 
for  it  is  evident  thou  wilt  not  gain  much  at  this."  Thor 
answered,  "  I  am  willing  to  try  another :  though  I  wonder 
whether  among  the  -ZEsir  such  draughts  would  be  called 
little.  But  what  feat  hast  thou  now  to  propose  ? " 
Utgarda-Loki  answered,  "  It  is  what  my  youngsters  here 
do  and  make  nothing  of;  it  is  merely  to  lift  my  cat  from 
the  ground.  I  should  not,  however,  have  proposed  such  a 
feat  to  Asa-Thor,  had  I  not  seen  that  thou  art  by  no  means 
the  man  I  imagined  thee  to  be."  A  huge  gray  cat  then  came 


walking  forth.  Thor  approaching  it,  took  it  under  the 
belly  and  lifted  it ;  but  the  cat  arched  its  back,  and  when 
Thor  had  raised  it  as  high  as  he  could,  one  foot  only  was 
off  the  ground,  but  further  than  this  Thor  could  make  no 
thing  at  that  sport.  "  It  is  just  as  I  foresaw  it  would  be," 
said  Utgarda-Loki ;  te  the  cat  is  very  large,  and  Thor  is 
short  and  little  compared  with  those  present."  "  Little  as 
I  am,"  replied  Thor,  "  I  now  challenge  any  one  who  likes 
to  come  forth  and  try  a  hug  with  me,  now  that  I  am 
angry."  "  There  is  no  one  here,"  said  Utgarda-Loki, 
"  who  will  not  think  it  child's  play  to  wrestle  with  thee ; 
but  call  in  the  old  crone  Elli  (age),  my  foster-mother.  She 
has  iaid  many  a  man  on  his  mother  earth,  that  did  not 
appear  weaker  than  Asa-Thor."  The  crone  came  in,  and 
the  game  began;  but  the  more  he  squeezed  her  in  his 
arms  the  firmer  she  stood.  She  now  endeavoured  to  trip 
him  up ;  Thor  soon  began  to  totter,  and  a  hard  struggle 
ensued.  It  had  not,  however,  lasted  long  before  Thor  sank' 
on  one  knee.  Utgarda-Loki  now  approached,  and  bade 
them  cease,  adding  that  Thor  needed  not  challenge  any 
more  of  his  people,  and  that  night  was  drawing  near.  He 
then  caused  Thor  and  his  companions  to  be  seated,  and 
they  stayed  the  night  over  as  welcome  guests. 

The  next  morning  at  day-break  the  guests  arose,  and 
having  dressed  themselves,  prepared  for  departure.  Ut 
garda-Loki  then  came,  and  ordered  a  table  to  be  set  forth. 
There  was  no  lack  of  hospitality  with  regard  either  to 
meat  or  drink.  Having  finished  their  repast,  they  betook 
themselves  to  their  journey.  Utgarda-Loki  accompanied 
them  out  of  the  city,  and  at  parting  inquired  of  Thor  how 
he  thought  his  visit  had  come  off,  and  whether  he  had  met 
with  any  mightier  men  than  himself  ?  Thor  answered,  that 
he  could  not  but  acknowledge  that  their  mutual  intercourse 
had  greatly  redounded  to  his  discredit ;  "  and  I  know," 


added  lie,  "  that  you  will  call  me  a  very  insignificant  per 
son,  which  vexes  me  exceedingly." 

Utgarda-Loki  answered,  "  Now  that  thou  art  out  of  the 
city,  I  will  tell  thee  the  real  state  of  the  case,  which,  if  I 
live  and  have  power,  thou  never  again  shalt  enter ;  nor 
shouldst  thou  have  entered  it  this  time,  had  I  previously 
known  that  thou  hadst  so   great   strength  in  thee,  and 
wouldst  have  so  nearly  brought  us  to  the  verge  of  destruc 
tion.     By  magic  alone  I  have  deluded  thee.     When  we 
first  met  in  the  forest,   and  thou  wouldst  unfasten  the 
wallet,  I  had  secured  it  with  iron  wire,  which  thou  wast 
unable  to  undo.     Thou  didst  then  strike  me  thrice  with 
thy  hammer.     The  first  blow  was  the  least,  and  yet  it 
would  have  caused  my  death,  had  it  fallen  on  me.     Thou 
sawest  in  my  hall  a  rock  with  four  square  hollows  in  it, 
one  of  which  was  deeper  than  the  others  :  these  were  the 
dints  of  thy  hammer.     I  slipt  the  rock  under  the  strokes 
without  thy  perceiving  it.    In  like  manner  the  sports  were 
contrived,  at  which  you  contended  with  my  people.    With 
respect  to  the  first,  at  which  Loki  proved  his  prowess,  it 
was  thus :  Loki  was  certainly  very  hungry  and  ate  vora 
ciously  ;  but  he  who  was  called  Logi  was  fire,  which  con 
sumed  both  meat  and  trough.     The  Hugi,  with  whom 
Thialfi  strove  in  running,  was  my  thought,  with  which  it 
was  impossible  for  him  to  contend.      When  thou  didst 
drink  from  the  horn  with,  as  it  seemed,  so  little  effect, 
thou  didst  in  sooth  perform  a  miracle,  such  as  I  never  ima 
gined  possible.    The  other  end  of  the  horn  was  out  in  the 
ocean,  which  thou  didst  not  observe.    When  thou  comest 
to  the  sea,  thou  wilt  see  how  much  it  is  diminished  by  thy 
draughts,  which  have  caused  what  will  now  be  called  the 
ebb."     Furthermore  he  said,  "  No  less  a  feat  does  it  seem 
to  me  when  thou  didst  lift  the  cat;  and,  the  sooth  to  say, 
all  were  terrified  when  they  saw  thee  raise  one  of  its  feet 


from  the  ground.  For  it  was  not  a  cat,  as  thou  didst 
imagine,  it  was  in  fact  the  Midgard's  serpent,  which  en 
circles  the  whole  world.  It  had  barely  length  enough  for 
its  head  and  tail  to  touch,  in  its  circle  round  the  earth,  and 
thou  didst  raise  it  so  high  that  it  almost  reached  heaven. 
Thy  wrestling  with  Elli  was  also  a  great  miracle  ;  for 
there  never  has  been  one,  nor  ever  will  be,  if  he  be  so  old 
as  to  await  Elli,  that  she  will  not  cast  to  the  earth.  We 
must  now  part,  and  it  will  be  best  for  both  that  thou  dost 
not  pay  me  a  second  visit.  I  can  again  protect  my  city 
by  other  spells,  so  that  thou  wilt  never  be  able  to  effect 
aught  against  me." 

On  hearing  these  words,  Thor  raised  his  hammer,  but 
when  about  to  hurl  it,  Utgarda-Loki  was  no  longer  to  be 
seen ;  and  on  turning  towards  the  city,  with  the  intention 
of  destroying  it,  he  saw  a  spacious  and  fair  plain,  but  no 

after  his  journey  to  Jotunheim,  Thor,  in  the  guise  of  a 
youth,  departed  from  Midgard,  and  came  one  evening  to 
a  giant's  named  Hymir,  where  he  passed  the  night.  At 
dawn  the  giant  rose,  dressed  himself,  and  made  ready  to 
row  out  to  sea  and  fish.  Thor  also  rose,  dressed  himself 
in  haste,  and  begged  of  Hymir  that  he  might  accompany 
him.  But  Hymir  answered,  that  he  would  be  of  little  or 
no  use  to  him,  as  he  was  so  diminutive  and  young ;  "  and," 
added  he,  "  thou  wilt  die  of  cold,  if  I  row  out  as  far  and 
stay  as  long  as  I  am  wont  to  do."  Thor  told  him  that  he 
could  row  well,  and  that  it  was  far  from  certain  which  of 
the  two  would  first  desire  to  reach  land  again.  He  was, 
moreover,  so  angry  with  the  giant,  that  he  almost  longed 
to  give  him  a  taste  of  the  hammer ;  he,  however,  suppressed 
his  wrath,  intending  to  prove  his  strength  in  some  other 

1  Gylf.  45-47.     Lokaglepsa,  Str.  59,  60,  62.     Hymiskv.  Str.  37.     Har- 
barftslj.  Str.  26. 


way.     He  then  asked  Hymir,  what  they  should  have  for  a 
bait,  and  received  for  answer,  that  he  might  provide  one 
for  himself;  whereupon  Thor,  seeing  a  herd  of  oxen  be 
longing  to  Hymir,  wrung  off  the  head  of  the  largest, 
named  Himinbriot,  and  took  it  with  him  down  to  the  sea. 
Hymir  had  already  launched  his  boat.     Thor  stept  on 
board,  placed  himself  abaft,  and  rowed  so  that  Hymir  was 
compelled  to  acknowledge  that  they  were  making  a  rapid 
course.     Hymir  at  the  same  time  rowed  at  the  prow ;  and 
it  was  not  long  ere  he  said  they  were  now  come  to  the 
place  where  he  was  accustomed  to  catch  flat-fish.     But 
Thor  was  desirous  of  going  still  farther  out,  and  they  rowed 
a  good  way  farther.     Hymir  then  said,  they  were  now 
come  so  far  that  it  would  be  dangerous  to  remain  there,  on 
account  of  the  Midgard's  serpent ;  but  Thor  answered  that 
he  would  row  a  while  longer,  and  he  did  so.    Then  laying 
his  oars  aside,  he  attached  a  very  strong  hook  to  an  equally 
strong  line,  fixed  the  ox's  head  on,  as  a  bait,  and  cast  it 
out.     It  must  be  confessed  that  Thor  here  tricked  the 
Midgard's  serpent  no  less  than  Utgarda-Loki  had  deceived 
him,  when  with  his  hand  he  undertook  to  lift  the  cat. 
Midgard's  serpent  gaped  at  the  bait,  and  so  got  the  hook 
into  his  jaw,  of  which  he  was  no  sooner  sensible  than  he 
struggled  so  that  Thorns  hands  were  dashed  on  the  side  of 
the  boat.     Thor  now  waxed  angry,   assumed  his  divine 
strength,  and  resisted  with  such  firmness,  that  his  legs 
went  through  the  boat,  and  he  rested  on  the  bottom  of 
the  sea.  He  then  hauled  the  serpent  up  to  the  boat's  edge. 
Dreadful  it  was  to  behold,  how  Thor  cast  his  fiery  looks 
on  the  serpent,  and  how  the  serpent  glared  on  him  and 
spat  forth  venom.     Hymir  changed*  colour  and  grew  pale 
with  terror,  when  he  saw  the  serpent,  and  the  water  stream 
ing  into  the  boat ;  and  as  Thor  was  swinging  his  hammer, 
the  giant  in  his  trepidation  drew  forth  his  knife,  and  cut 
the  line,  and  the  serpent  sank  down  into  the  ocean.    Thor 


hurled  his  hammer  after  it,  and,  it  is  said,  struck  off  its 
head;  but  it  lives  there  still.  He  then  applied  his  fists  to 
the  giant's  head,  so  that  he  fell  backwards  overboard. 
Thor  waded  to  land1. 

In  an  older  story,  this  myth  is  combined  with  another, 
which  is  as  follows.  The  gods  visited  the  giant  Oegir,  the 
god  of  the  sea,  but  he  was  in  want  of  a  kettle  to  brew 
beer  in  for  them,  and  not  one  among  them  knew  how  to 
procure  one,  until  Ty  said  to  Thor,  that  his  father  Hymir, 
who  dwelt  to  the  east  of  Elivagar,  at  the  end  of  heaven, 
had  a  very  capacious  kettle,  a  mile  deep.  Thereupon  Thor 
and  Ty  went  to  Hymir' s  dwelling,  where  the  first  person 
they  met  with  was  Ty's  grandmother,  a  horrible  giantess 
with  nine  hundred  heads  :  but  afterwards  there  came  forth 
another  woman  radiant  with  gold  and  light-browed.  This 
was  Ty's  mother,  who  proffered  them  drink,  and  wished 
to  hide  them  under  the  kettles  in  the  hall,  on  account  of 
Hymir,  who  often  received  his  guests  with  grudge,  and 
was  given  to  anger.  Hymir  returned  late  from  the  chase, 
and  came  into  the  hall :  the  ice-bergs  resounded  with  his 
steps,  and  a  hard-frozen  wood  stood  on  his  cheek.  The 
woman  announced  to  him  that  his  son,  whose  coming  they 
had  long  wished  for,  was  arrived,  but  accompanied  by  their 
declared  enemy,  and  that  they  were  standing  concealed 
behind  a  pillar  in  the  hall.  At  a  glance  from  the  giant 
the  pillar  burst  asunder,  and  the  cross-beam  was  snapt  in 
two,  so  that  eight  kettles  fell  down,  of  which  one  only  was 
so  firmly  fabricated  that  it  remained  whole.  Both  guests 
now  came  forth,  and  Hymir  eyed  Thor  with  a  suspicious 
look;  he  anticipated  no  good  when  he  saw  the  giants' 
enemy  standing  on  his  floor.  In  the  meanwhile  three  oxen 
were  cooked,  of  which  Thor  alone  ate  two.  At  Thor's  in 
ordinate  voracity  Hymir  naturally  felt  alarmed,  and  very 
plainly  told  him  that  the  three  must  another  evening  be 
1  Gylf.  48. 


content  with  living  on  what  they  could  catch  :  so  the  next 
day  they  rowed  out  to  fish,  Thor  providing  the  bait,  as  we 
have  seen  in  the  foregoing  narrative.  They  rowed  to  the 
spot  where  Hymir  was  accustomed  to  catch  whales,  but 
Thor  rowed  out  still  farther.  Hymir  caught  two  whales 
at  one  haul,  but  the  Midgard's  serpent  took  Thor's  bait. 
Having  drawn  the  venomous  monster  up  to  the  boat's 
edge,  he  struck  its  mountain- high  head  with  his  hammer ; 
whereupon  the  rocks  burst,  it  thundered  through  the  ca 
verns,  old  mother  earth  all  shrank,  even  the  fishes  sought 
the  bottom  of  the  ocean ;  but  the  serpent  sank  back  into 
the  sea.  Ill  at  ease  and  silent,  Hymir  returned  home,  and 
Thor  carried  the  boat,  together  with  the  water  it  had  shipt, 
bucket  and  oars,  on  his  shoulders,  back  to  the  hall.  The 
giant  continued  in  his  sullen  mood,  and  said  to  Thor,  that 
though  he  could  row  well,  he  had  not  strength  enough  to 
break  his  cup.  Thor  took  the  cup  in  his  hand,  and  cast 
it  against  an  upright  stone,  but  the  stone  was  shattered  in 
pieces ;  he  dashed  it  against  the  pillars  of  the  hall,  but  the 
cup  was  entire  when  brought  back  to  Hymir.  The  beau 
tiful  woman  then  whispered  good  advice  in  Thor's  ear : 
te  Cast  it  against  Hymir' s  own  forehead,  which  is  harder 
than  any  cup."  Thor  then  raising  himself  on  his  knee 
assumed  his  divine  strength,  and  hurled  the  vessel  against 
the  giant's  forehead.  The  old  man's  forehead  remained 
sound  as  before,  but  the  wine-cup  was  shivered  in  pieces. 
"Well  done/'  exclaimed  Hymir,  "  thou  must  now  try 
whether  thou  canst  carry  the  beer-vessel  out  of  my  hall." 
Ty  made  two  attempts  to  lift  it,  but  the  kettle  remained 
stationary.  Thor  then  grasped  it  by  the  rim,  his  feet 
stamped  through  the  floor  of  the  hall,  he  lifted  the  kettle 
on  his  head,  and  its  rings  rang  at  his  feet.  He  then 
started  off  with  the  kettle,  and  they  journeyed  long  before 
he  looked  back,  when  he  saw  a  host  of  many-headed  giants 
swarming  forth  from  the  caverns  with  Hymir.  Lifting 


then  the  kettle  from  his  head,  he  swang  Miolnir,  and 
crushed  all  the  mountain- giants.  Thus  did  the  stout  Thor 
bring  to  the  assembly  of  the  gods  Hymir's  kettle;  so 
that  they  can  now  hold  their  feast  with  Oegir  at  flax-har 

There  was  a  feast  also  given  by  Oegir  to  the  gods,  at 
which  Loki  ridiculed  and  reviled  all  the  principal  guests, 
and  which  forms  the  subject  of  an  entire  eddaic  poem. 
On  the  above  occasion,  Oegir' s  hall  was  lighted  with  shi 
ning  gold2. 

upon  a  time  riding  on  his  horse  Sleipnir  to  Jotunheim, 
came  to  the  giant  Hrungnir's.  Hrungnir  asked  who  he 
was  with  a  golden  helmet,  who  rode  through  air  and 
water  ?  "  Thine  must,"  added  he,  "  be  a  most  powerful 
and  excellent  horse."  Odin  answered,  that  he  would 
pledge  his  head  that  his  horse's  match  was  not  to  be  found 
in  Jotunheim.  Hrungnir  was,  however,  of  opinion  that 
his  horse  Gullfaxi  (golden-mane)  was  far  superior;  and 
springing  on  it  in  anger,  he  rode  after  Odin,  with  the  in 
tention  of  paying  him  for  his  presumptuous  words.  Odin 
galloped  at  full  speed,  but  Hrungnir  followed  him  with 
such  giant  impetuosity,  that  before  he  was  aware  of  it,  he 
found  himself  within  the  barred  inclosure  of  the  ^Esir. 
On  reaching  the  gate  of  their  hall,  the  ^Esir  invited  him 
in  to  drink,  and  set  before  him  the  cups  out  of  which 
Thor  was  wont  to  quaff.  He  drank  of  them  all,  became 
intoxicated,  and  threatened  to  take  Valhall  and  carry  it  to 
Jotunheim,  to  sack  Asgard  and  slay  all  the  gods,  except 
Freyia  and  Sif,  whom  he  would  take  home  with  him. 
Freyia  alone  ventured  to  fill  for  him,  and  it  appeared  that 
he  was  well  disposed  to  drink  all  the  ^E sir's  beer.  The 

1  HymiskviSa.  The  last  line  of  this  poem  is  very  obscure  ;  the  mean 
ing  may  be,  that  Oegir  had  now  got  a  kettle,  in  which  he  could  prepare 
arm  beer  for  the  gods.  2  Lokaglepsa  . 


IY,  who  wished  to  hear  no  more  of  his  idle  vaunt,  called 
for  Thor,  who  came,  raised  his  hammer,  and  asked  who 
gave  that  insolent  giant  permission  to  be  in  Valhall,  and 
why  Freyia  was  filling  for  him,  as  at  a  festival  of  the  ^Esir  ? 
Hrungnir,  looking   not  very  benignantly   on  Thor,  an 
swered,  that  he  came  on  the  invitation  of  Odin,  and  was 
under  his  protection.    Thor  replied,  that  he  should  repent 
the  invitation  before  his  departure.     Hrungnir  then  said, 
that  Thor  would  gain  but  little  honour  in  slaying  him 
there,  where  he  was  without  weapons;    he  would  show 
more  valour  by  meeting  him  in  single  combat  on  the  fron 
tier  of  the  country  at  Griotuna-gard.     "  It  was/'  added 
he,  "  a  great  folly  of  me  that  I  left  my  shield  and  stone 
club  at  home.     Had  I  my  arms  with  me,  we  would  in 
stantly  engage  in  combat  :  but  as  it  is  otherwise,  I  pro 
claim  thee  a  coward,  if  thou  slayest  me  unarmed."     Thor, 
who  had  never  before  been  challenged  by  any  one,  would 
on  no  account  decline  the  meeting.     When  Hrungnir  re 
turned  to  Jotunheim,  the  giants,  to  whom  it  was  of  vital 
importance  which  of  the  two  should  gain  the  victory,  made 
a  man  of  clay  nine  miles  high,  and  three  in  breadth  ;  but 
they  could  find  no  fitting  heart  for  him,  till  they  took  one 
from  a  mare,  which  did  not,  however,  remain  steady  when 
Thor   came.     Hrungnir'  s  heart  was  of  hard  stone,  and 
triangular,  like  the  magic  sign  called  Hrungnir's  heart. 
His  head  was  likewise  of  stone,  as  was  also  his  shield,  and 
this  he  held  before  him,  when  he  stood  at  Griotuna-gard, 
waiting  for  Thor,  while  his  weapon,  a  formidable  whet 
stone,  or  stone  club,  rested  on  his  shoulder.     At  his  side 
stood  the  man  of  clay,  who  was  named  Mockurkalfi,  who 
was  excessively  terrified  at  the  sight  of  Thor.     Thor  went 
to  the  combat  attended  by  Thialfi,  who  running  to  the 
spot  where  Hrungnir  was  standing,  exclaimed,  "  Thou  art 
standing  very  heedlessly,  giant  !     Thou  boldest  the  shield 
before  thee,  but  Thor  has  observed  thee,  and  will  go  down 


into  the  earth,  that  he  may  attack  thee  from  beneath." 
On  receiving  this  information,  Hrungnir  placed  the  shield 
under  his  feet,  stood  upon  it,  and  grasped  his  club  with 
both  hands.     He  then  saw  lightning,  and  heard  a  loud 
crash  of  thunder,  and  was  sensible  of  Thorns  divine  power, 
who  was  advancing  in  all  his  strength,  and  had  cast  his 
hammer  from  a  distance.     Hrungnir  raising  his  club  with 
both  hands,  hurled  it  against  the  hammer  :  the  two  met 
in  the  air,  and  the  club  was  dashed  in  pieces,  of  which  one 
portion  fell  on  the  earth,  whence  come  all  the  whetstone 
mountains;  while  another  fragment  struck  Thor  on  the 
head,  causing  him  to  fall  on  the  earth.  But  Miolnir  struck 
Hrungnir  on  the  head,  and  crushed  his  skull :  he  fell  for 
wards  over  Thor,  so  that  his  foot  lay  on  Thor's  neck. 
Thialfi  fought  with  Mockurkalfi,  who  fell  with  little  ho 
nour.   Thialfi  then  went  to  Thor,  and  endeavoured  to  take 
HrungmV s  foot  from  his  neck,  but  was  unable  to  move  it. 
All  the  ^Esir  came,  when  they  heard  that  Thor  had  fallen, 
but  they  were  equally  powerless.     At  length  came  Magni, 
a  son  of  Thor  and  Jarnsaxa,  who,  although  he  was  only 
three  days  old1,  cast  Hrungnir' s  foot  from  his  father's 
neck,  and  got  from  Thor  in  reward  the  horse  Gullfaxi, 
which  Odin  took  amiss,  saying  that  so  good  a  horse  ought 
not  to  have  been  given  to  a  giantess's  son,  but  rather  to 
himself.     Thor  went  home  to  Thrudvang,  but  the  stone 
remained  fixed  in  his  forehead.    Then  came  a  Vala  (Volva) 
or  prophetess,  named  Groa,  the  wife  of  Orvandil  (Orvald), 
who  sang  incantations  (galldrar)  over  him,   so  that  the 
stone  was  loosed.     In  recompense,  Thor  would  gladden 
her  with  the  tidings  that  he  had  come  from  the  north  over 
Elivagar,  and  in  an  iron  basket,  had  borne  Orvandil  from 
Jotunheim ;  in  token  of  which  he  related  to  her  how  one 
of  OrvandiFs  toes  had  protruded  from  the  basket,  and  got 

1  Vali,  in  like  manner,  when  only  one  day  old,  avenged  the  death  of 
Baldur  on  Hod.     See  hereafter. 


frost-bitten,  and  that  lie  (Thor)  had  broken  it  off,  and  cast 
it  up  to  heaven,  and  formed  of  it  the  star  called  Orvandil's 
toe.  When  Thor  further  informed  her  that  Orvandil 
would  soon  return  home,  she  was  so  overjoyed  that  she 
forgot  to  continue  her  incantations,  so  that  the  stone  was 
not  extracted,  but  still  remains  in  Thor's  forehead1.  No 
one  should,  therefore,  cast  a  whetstone  across  the  floor, 
for  then  the  stone  in  Thor's  head  is  moved2. 

good  Baldur  had  been   troubled  with   sad  and   painful 
dreams  that  his  life  was  in  peril.     The  gods  were  exceed 
ingly  distressed,  and  resolved  to  pray  for  Baldur's  security 
against  all  possible  danger;  and  his  mother  Frigg  exacted 
an  oath  from  fire,  water,  iron,  and  all  kinds  of  metal,  stone, 
earth,  trees,  diseases,  beasts,  birds,  and  venomous  snakes, 
that  they  would  not  injure  her  son.     When  the  gods  had 
thus,  as  they  imagined,  rendered  all  safe,  they  were  ac 
customed,  by  way  of  sport,  to  let  Baldur  stand  forth  at 
their  assembly,  for  all  the  ^Esir  to  shoot  at  him  with  the 
bow,  or  to  strike  or  throw  stones  at  him,  as  nothing  caused 
him'any  harm.    This  was  considered  a  great  honour  shown 
to  Baldur.    Yet,  notwithstanding  these  precautions,  Odin, 
it  appears,  had  misgivings  that  something  wrong  would 
take  place,  and  that  the  Norns  of  happiness  had  secretly 
departed  from  them.     To  put  an  end  to  this  painful  state 
of  anxiety,  he  resolved  on  a  journey  to  the  infernal  abodes. 
He  arose,  placed  the  saddle  on  Sleipnir,  and  bent  his  way 
down  to  Niflhel  (Niflheim),  there  to  raise  and  interrogate 
a  dead  Vala,  whose  grave  lay  by  the  eastern  gate  of  HePs 
abode.     Here  he  was  met  by  the  fierce  dog  of  Hel,  with 
bloody  breast  and  jaws,  which  bayed  and  howled  terrifically; 
but  Odin  rode  on  until  he  reached  the  Vala's  grave.    Turn- 

1  It  may  here  be  observed  that  the  Lapps  represent  Thor  with  a  flint- 
stone  in  his  forehead. 

2  Skaldskap.  17.     HarbarSslj.  Str.  15.     Lokaglepsa,  Str.  61. 


ing  then  his  face  to  the  north,  he  uttered  those  necro 
mantic  songs  which  have  power  to  wake  the  dead,  until 
the  Vala,  raising  herself  reluctantly  from  the  tomb,  de 
manded  what  man  it  was  that  had  thus  ventured  to  dis 
turb  her  rest.  In  answer,  Odin  told  her  that  his  name 
was  Vegtam,  son  of  Valtam,  and  at  the  same  time  inquired 
of  her,  on  what  occasion  the  benches  and  gilded  couches, 
which  he  perceived,  were  being  prepared.  She  informed 
him,  that  it  was  in  honour  of  Baldur,  and  desired  to  be 
no  more  questioned.  Persisting  in  his  inquiries,  she  goes 
on  to  tell  him  the  whole  manner  of  Baldur' s  death  and 
the  events  immediately  following,  as  they  are  here  related ; 
and  again  deprecates  all  further  interrogation.  But  Odin 
persists,  and  asks,  who  those  maidens  are  that  do  not 
weep  for  Baldur,  but  let  their  towering  head-gear  flaunt 
towards  heaven l  ?  Hereupon  the  Vala  exclaims  :  "  Thou 
art  not  Vegtam,  as  I  before  believed;  rather  art  thou 
Odin,  chief  of  men."  To  this  Odin  answers  :  "  No  Vala 
art  thou,  nor  wise  woman :  rather  art  thou  mother  of 
three  giants."  To  this  insulting  speech  the  Vala  replies  : 
"  Ride  home,  and  boast  of  thy  feat.  Never  shall  mortal 
visit  me  again,  till  Loki  shall  have  burst  his  chains,  and 
Ragnarock  be  come." 

When  Loki,  Laufey's  son,  saw  the  sport  before  men 
tioned,  he  was  displeased  that  Baldur  was  not  hurt,  and 
in  the  likeness  of  a  woman  he  went  to  Frigg  in  Fensalir. 
Frigg  inquired  of  her  whether  she  knew  what  the  jEsir 
were  doing  in  their  assembly  ?  She  answered  that  they 
were  all  shooting  at  Baldur,  but  without  hurting  him. 
Frigg  then  said,  "  Neither  weapon  nor  wood  will  hurt  Bal- 

1  Who  these  maidens  are  we  are  nowhere  informed,  though  it  is  evident 
they  were  not  visible  to  mortal  eyes,  and  that  by  discerning  them  Odin 
betrayed  his  divine  nature.  The  lost  myth  concerning  them  must  have 
been  at  variance  with  the  story  of  Thb'kt  (see  hereafter)  who  is  mentioned 
as  the  only  being  that  would  not  bewail  the  death  of  Baldur. 



dur :  I  have  exacted  an  oath  from  all  of  them."  On 
hearing  this,  the  woman  asked,  "Have  all  things,  then, 
sworn  to  spare  Baldur  ?"  Frigg  told  her  in  reply,  that 
the  mistletoe,  a  little  insignificant  plant,  growing  to  the 
west  of  Valhall,  was  the  only  thing  from  which  she  had 
not  required  an  oath,  as  it  appeared  to  her  too  young  to 
take  one.  Loki  then  departed,  went  and  pulled  up  the 
mistletoe,  and  took  it  with  him  to  the  assembly,  where  all 
were  engaged  in  their  sport  with  Baldur.  Hod  was  stand 
ing  without  the  circle.  Turning  towards  him,  Loki  asked 
why  he  did  not  shoot  ?  Hod  excused  himself  by  saying 
that  he  was  both  blind  and  unarmed.  "  But,"  said  Loki, 
"thou  shouldst,  nevertheless,  show  to  Baldur  the  same 
honour  as  the  others.  Take  this  wand,  and  I  will  direct 
thee  to  where  he  is  standing."  Hod  took  the  mistletoe, 
aud.  cast  it  at  Baldur :  it  pierced  him  through,  and  he  fell 
dead  to  the  earth.  This  was  the  most  deplorable  event 
that  had  till  then  happened  among  gods  and  men. 

On  Baldur' s  fall  the  Msir  were  struck  speechless,  and 
lost  all  presence  of  mind.  One  looked  at  another,  and  all 
breathed  vengeance  on  the  author  of  the  misdeed ;  but  no 
one  durst  wreak  his  vengeance  there,  the  place  being 
sacred  (a  place  of  peace).  When  they  essayed  to  speak, 
tears  burst  forth,  so  that  they  could  not  impart  their 
sorrow  to  each  other.  But  Odin  was  the  most  afflicted  by 
this  misfortune,  for  he  saw  how  much  the  ^Esir  would 
lose  by  the  death  of  Baldur. 

When  they  had  somewhat  recovered  themselves,  Frigg 
asked,  which  of  the  JSsir  was  willing  to  gain  her  love  and 
esteem  by  riding  to  Hel  for  the  purpose  of  finding  Baldur, 
and  offering  her  a  ransom,  if  she  would  allow  him  to  re 
turn  to  Asgard.  Hermod,  Odin's  active  son  and  follower, 
undertook  the  journey;  Sleipnir  was  led  forth,  Hermod 
mounted  and  galloped  away. 

The  JEtsir  conveyed  Baldur' s  corpse  to  the  sea- shore; 


but  his  ship  named  Hringhorni  (which  was  the  largest  of 
all  ships),  on  which  they  were  to  burn  the  body,  they  were 
unable  to  get  afloat;  whereupon  a  message  was  sent  to 
Jotunheim,  to  the  giantess  Hyrrockin,  who  came  riding 
on  a  wolf,  with  a  viper  for  a  rein.  Dismounting  from  her 
palfrey,  which  four  doughty  champions  (berserkir),  called 
by  Odin  to  take  charge  of  it,  could  hold  only  by  casting 
it  on  the  earth,  she  went  to  the  prow,  and  sent  the  ship 
forth  with  such  force,  that  fire  sprang  from  the  rollers 
placed  under  it,  and  the  whole  earth  trembled.  At  this 
Thor  was  incensed,  and  seized  his  hammer  to  cleave  her 
head ;  but  all  the  other  gods  interceded  for  her.  Baldur's 
corpse  was  then  borne  out  on  the  ship.  His  wife  Nanna, 
the  daughter  of  Nep,  grieved  so  intensely  that  her  heart 
burst,  and  her  body  was  laid  on  the  pile  with  that  of  her 
beloved  Baldur.  The  pile  was  then  kindled:  Thor  was 
present  and  consecrated  it  with  his  hammer,  arid  kicked 
the  dwarf  Litur,  who  was  running  before  his  feet,  into  the 
fire.  At  this  funeral  many  people  were  present :  Odin 
with  Frigg  and  his  ravens  and  the  Valkyriur,  Frey  in  his 
chariot  drawn  by  the  hog  Gullinborsti  or  Slidrugtanni^ 
Heimdall  on  his  horse  Gulltopp,  Freyia  with  her  cats, 
besides  a  great  multitude  of  frost-giants  and  mountain- 
giants.  Odin  laid  his  ring  Draupnir  on  the  pile,  from 
which  afterwards,  every  ninth  night,  there  dropt  eight 
rings  of  equal  weight.  Baldur's  horse  was  also  cast  on 
the  pile  with  all  his  housings. 

Hermod,  we  are  told,  rode  nine  nights  and  days  through 
dark  and  deep  valleys,  until  he  reached  the  river  Gioll, 
where  he  crossed  over  the  bridge,  which  is  paved  with 
shining  gold.  The  maiden  Modgud  (M6)>gu]?r),  who 
guards  it,  inquired  his  name  and  race,  and  said,  that  the 
day  before  five  troops  of  dead  had  ridden  over  the  bridge, 
but  that  it  did  not  resound  so  loudly  as  under  him  alone : 
"  Nor,"  added  she,  "hast  thou  the  hue  of  the  dead.  Why 



then  dost  thou  ride  on  the  way  to  Hel?"  Hermod 
answered,  "  I  am  riding  to  Hel  to  seek  Baldur :  hast  thou 
seen  aught  of  him  on  this  road?"  She  answered,  that 
Baldur  had  ridden  over  the  bridge,  and  showed  him  the 
way  that  led  downwards  and  northwards  to  Hel.  Hermod 
rode  on  until  he  came  to  the  barred  enclosure  which  sur 
rounds  Hel's  abode.  Here  he  dismounted,  tightened  the 
saddle-girth,  and  having  remounted,  clapped  spurs  to  his 
horse  and  cleared  the  enclosure.  Thence  he  rode  straight 
to  the  hall,  where  he  saw  his  brother  Baldur  sitting  in  the 
place  of  honour.  He  remained  there  that  night.  The  next 
morning,  he  besought  of  Hel  that  Baldur  might  ride  home 
with  him,  and  represented  to  her  the  grief  of  the  Jllsir  for 
his  loss.  Hel  answered,  that  it  would  now  appear  whether 
Baldur  were  really  so  beloved  as  was  said ;  for  if  everything 
in  the  world,  living  and  lifeless,  bewailed  him,  he  should 
return  to  the  ^Esir ;  if  not,  he  should  continue  with  her. 
Hermod  rose  up,  Baldur  followed  him  out  of  the  hall,  took 
the  ring  Draupnir,  and  sent  it  to  Odin  as  a  remembrance ; 
and  Nanna  sent  her  veil  with  other  presents  to  Frigg, 
and  to  Fulla  her  ring.  Hermod  returned  to  Asgard,  and 
related  what  he  had  seen  and  heard. 

Thereupon  the  ^Esir  sent  messages  over  the  whole  world, 
praying  all  things  to  weep  for  Baldur,  and  thereby  release 
him  from  Hel.  And  all  did  so :  men  and  beasts,  earth 
and  stones,  wood  and  all  metals.  But  as  the  messengers 
were  returning,  they  found  in  a  cavern  a  giantess  named 
Thokt,  who,  on  their  beseeching  her  to  weep  for  Baldur, 
answered, — 

"  Yes,  Thokt  will  wail, 

weep  with  dry  tears, 

for  Baldur's  death ; 

breathes  he  or  dies, 

it  boots  me  not : 

let  him  bide  with  Hel." 
Baldur's  death  was  avenged  by  Odin's  son  Vali,  who, 


though  only  one  day  old,  unwashed  and  uncombed,  slew 

Thokt,  it  was  supposed,  was  Loki,  who  had  thus  not 
only  caused  the  death  of  Baldur,  but  also  prevented  his 
release  from  Hel.  To  escape  from  the  vengeance  of  the 
gods,  he  concealed  himself  in  a  mountain,  where  he  built 
a  house  with  four  doors,  that  he  might  see  on  all  sides. 
But  in  the  day-time  he  often  transformed  himself  into  a 
salmon,  and  hid  himself  in  the  waterfall  called  Franan- 
gur's  fors.  He  was  one  day  sitting  in  his  house  twisting 
flax  and  yarn,  and  forming  meshes,  like  the  nets  of  later 
times,  with  a  fire  burning  before  him,  when  he  perceived 
that  the  Msir  were  not  far  off;  for  Odin  had  spied  out  his 
retreat  from  Hlidskialf.  On  the  approach  of  the  ^Esir,  he 
threw  the  net-work  into  the  fire,  and  sprang  into  the  river. 
Kvasir,  the  wisest  of  the  /Esir,  was  the  first  that  entered, 
who,  on  seeing  the  ashes  of  the  net-work  on  the  fire,  con 
cluded  that  it  must  be  for  the  purpose  of  catching  fish. 
On  mentioning  this  to  the  ^Esir,  they  took  hemp,  made  a 
net  after  what  they  had  seen  on  the  ashes,  and  cast  it  into 
the  water-fall;  Thor  holding  it  at  one  end,  and  all  the 
2Esir  drawing  it  at  the  other.  But  Loki  went  to  a  dis 
tance,  and  placed  himself  between  two  stones,  so  that  the 
net  passed  over  him ;  but  they  were  aware  that  something 
living  had  touched  it.  They  then  cast  it  out  a  second 
time,  having  tied  to  it  something  heavy,  so  that  nothing 
could  slip  from  under  it ;  but  Loki  went  on  farther,  and 
perceiving  that  he  was  near  the  sea,  he  sprang  over  the 
net  up  into  the  water-fall.  The  ^Esir  having  now  ascer 
tained  where  he  was,  returned  to  the  waterfall,  and  di 
vided  themselves  into  two  parties,  Thor  wading  in  the 
middle  of  the  river  towards  the  sea.  Loki  had  now  the 
alternative,  either,  at  the  risk  of  his  life,  to  swim  out  to 
sea,  or  again  to  leap  over  the  net.  With  the  greatest 
1  Gylf.  49.  Vegtamskvitfa.  Vbluspa,  Str.  36-38.  Hyndlulj.  Str.  28. . 


promptitude  he  tried  the  latter  chance,  when  Thor  grasped 
him,  but  he  slipt  in  his  hand,  and  it  was  by  the  tail 
only  that  Thor  could  secure  him.  To  this  circumstance 
it  is  owing  that  the  salmon  has  so  pointed  a  tail. 

When  the  gods  had  thus  captured  Loki,  they  brought 
him  to  a  cave,  raised  up  three  fragments  of  rock,  and 
bored  holes  through  them.  They  then  took  his  sons, 
Vali  (Ali)  and  Narfi  (Nari).  Vali  they  transformed  into 
a  wolf,  and  he  tore  his  brother  Narfi  in  pieces.  With  his 
entrails  they  bound  Loki  over  the  three  stones,  one  being 
under  his  shoulders,  another  under  his  loins,  the  third 
under  his  hams ;  and  the  bands  became  iron.  Skadi  then 
hung  a  venomous  snake  above  his  head,  so  that  the  poison 
might  drip  on  his  face ;  but  his  wife  Sigyn  stands  by  him, 
and  holds  a  cup  under  the  dripping  venom.  When  the 
cup  is  full,  the  poison  falls  on  his  face  while  she  empties 
it;  and  he  shrinks  from  it,  so  that  the  whole  earth  trem 
bles.  Thence  come  earthquakes.  There  will  he  lie  bound 
until  Ragnarock1. 

chained  under  the  hot  spring's  grove.  In  the  iron  forest 
east  of  Midgard  the  old  giantess  brought  forth  Fenrir's 
(the  deep's)  progeny;  one  of  which,  named  Skoll,  will 
pursue  the  sun  to  the  encircling  ocean ;  the  other,  Hati, 
Hrodvitnir's  son,  called  also  Managarm,  will  run  before 
the  sun,  and  will  swallow  up  the  moon.  He  will  be  sated 
with  the  lives  of  the  dying.  On  a  height  will  sit  the 
giantess's  watch,  the  dauntless  Egdir  (eagle),  and  strike 
his  harp ;  over  him,  in  the  Bird- wood,  will  crow  the  light- 
red  cock  Fialar.  Over  the  ^Esir  will  crow  the  gold-combed 
cock  that  wakens  heroes  in  Odin's  hall.  But  a  soot-red 
cock  will  crow  beneath  the  earth  in  Hel's  abode.  Loudly 
will  howl  the  dog  Garm  in  Gnipa's  cave ;  bonds  will  be 
1  Gylf.  50.  Lokaglepsa,  conclusion.  Voluspa,  Str.  39,  40. 


burst,  loose  the  wolf  run  forth ;  brothers  will  contend  and 
slay  each  other,  kindred  tear  kindred's  bond  asunder.  It 
will  go  hard  with  the  world.  Great  abominations  there 
shall  be :  an  axe-tide,  a  sword-tide ;  shields  shall  be  cloven ; 
a  wind-tide,  a  wolf-tide,  ere  the  world  perishes :  no  man 
will  then  spare  another.  The  tree  of  knowledge1  (Miot- 
viiSr,  Miotuftr)  shall  be  burnt,  Mimir's  sons  shall  dance 
to  the  resounding  Giallar-horn,  Heimdall  raise  high  his 
trump  and  blow,  Odin  consult  Mimir's  head ;  Yggdrasil's 
ash,  that  ancient  tree,  tremble  but  stand;  from  the  east 
Hrym  shall  come  driving,  then  shall  ocean  swell;  Jor- 
mungand  (Midgard's  serpent)  put  on  his  giant-mood,  and 
plough  through  the  billowy  deep;  but  glad  shall  the 
eagle  scream,  and  with  its  pale  beak  tear  corpses;  Naglfar 
shall  go  forth,  the  keel  from  the  east  shall  glide,  when 
Muspell's  sons  over  the  ocean  sail ;  Loki  will  steer  it ;  the 
wolf  be  followed  by  its  whole  monstrous  progeny,  led  by 
Byleist's  brother  (Loki).  What  now  befalls  the  JSsir  ? 
What  befalls  the  Elves  ?  All  Jotunheim  resounds ;  the 
^Esir  meet  in  council ;  the  dwarfs  moan  before  their  stony 
doors.  From  the  south  comes  Surt  with  flickering  flames ; 
from  his  sword  gleams  the  heaven-god's  sun ;  the  stone- 
mountains  crack,  the  giantesses  stumble,  men  tread  the 
way  to  Hel,  and  heaven  is  riven.  Then  shall  come  Hlin's 
second  sorrow2,  when  Odin  goes  with  the  wolf  to  fight, 
and  Beli's  radiant  slayer  against  Surt.  Then  shall  fall 
Frigg's  dearest  god.  Then  shall  come  the  great  victor 
father's  son,  Vidar,  to  fight  against  the  deadly  monster ; 
he  with  his  hand  shall  cause  his  sword  to  stand  in  the 
giant's  son's  heart.  Then  shall  the  glorious  son  of  Hlodyn, 
Odin's  son  (Thor),  go  against  the  monster  (Midgard's 
serpent),  bravely  shall  slay  it  Midgard's  defender.  Then 
shall  all  men  their  home  (the  world)  forsake.  Nine  feet 
shall  go  Fiorgyn's  (Earth's)  son  from  the  serpent,  bowed 
1  Lit.  The  middle  tree.  2  Baldur's  death  was  the  first.  See  p.  35. 


down,  who  feared  no  evil.  The  sun  shall  be  darkened, 
earth  in  ocean  sink,  the  glittering  stars  vanish  from  heaven, 
smoky  clouds  encircle  the  all-nourishing  tree  (Yggdrasil), 
high  flames  play  against  heaven  itself1. 

There  will  come  a  winter  called  Fimbul-winter,  when  snow 
will  drift  from  every  side,  a  hard  frost  prevail,  and  cutting 
winds ;  the  sun  will  lose  its  power.  Of  these  winters 
three  will  follow  without  an  intervening  summer.  But 
before  these,  three  other  winters  will  come,  during  which 
there  will  be  bloodshed  throughout  the  world.  Brothers 
will  slay  each  other  through  covetousness,  and  no  mercy 
will  be  found  between  parents  and  children.  Then  will 
great  events  take  place.  One  wolf  will  swallow  up  the 
sun,  to  the  great  detriment  of  mankind ;  the  other  wolf 
will  take  the  moon,  and  will  also  cause  a  great  loss.  The 
stars  will  vanish  from  heaven.  Then  will  it  also  happen 
that  the  whole  earth  and  the  mountains  tremble,  that  the 
trees  will  be  loosed  from  the  earth,  and  the  mountains 
come  toppling  down,  and  all  fetters  and  bonds  be  broken 
and  snapt  asunder.  The  wolf  Fenrir  will  break  loose,  the 
sea  will  burst  over  the  land,  because  Midgard's  serpent 
writhes  with  giant  rage,  and  strives  to  get  on  land.  Then 
also  will  the  ship  called  Naglfar  be  loosed,  which  is  made 
of  dead  men's  nails.  It  should,  therefore,  be  borne  in 
mind,  that  when  any  one  dies  with  uncut  nails,  he  much 
increases  the  materials  for  the  construction  of  Naglfar, 
which  both  gods  and  men  wish  finished  as  late  as  possible2. 

1  Gylf.  12.  51.   Grimnism.  Str.  39.   Voluspa,  Str.  32-35,  41,  42,  46-58. 
Vafymdnism.  Str.  18.  53.     Fafnism.  Str.  14,  15. 

2  Grimm  suggests  that  by  the  slow  process  of  constructing  a  ship,  de 
scribed  as  the  largest  of  all  ships  (see  p.  38),  of  the  parings  of  the  nails  of 
the  dead,  it  is  simply  meant  to  convey  an  idea  of  the  great  length  of  time 
that  is  to  elapse  before  the  end  of  the  world,  and  which  the  implied  ad 
monition  to  cut  and  burn  the  nails  of  the  dead,  is  intended  still  further  to 
prolong.    D.  M.  p.  775,  note. 


In  this  sea-flood  Naglfar  will  float :  Hrym  is  the  giant 
named  who  will  steer  it.  The  wolf  Fenrir  will  go  forth 
with  gaping  mouth  :  his  upper  jaw  will  touch  heaven,  and 
his  nether  jaw  the  earth :  if  there  were  room,  he  would 
gape  even  more  widely;  fire  burns  from  his  eyes  and 
nostrils.  Midgard's  serpent  will  blow  forth  venom,  which 
will  infect  the  air  and  the  waters.  He  is  most  terrific, 
and  he  will  be  by  the  side  of  the  wolf.  During  this  tumult 
heaven  will  be  cloven,  and  MuspelFs  sons  ride  forth  : 
Surt  will  ride  first,  and  both  before  and  after  him  will  be 
burning  fire.  The  gleam  of  his  good  sword  is  brighter 
than  the  sun  ;  but  as  they  ride  over  it  Bifrost  will 
break.  MuspelPs  sons  will  proceed  to  the  plain  called 
Vigrid  (Vigrtyr)  :  there  will  come  also  the  wolf  Fenrir  and 
Midgard's  serpent;  there  will  Loki  also  have  come,  and 
Hrym,  and  with  them  all  the  frost-giants.  All  the  friends 
of  Hel  will  follow  Loki,  but  MuspelPs  sons  will  have  their 
own  bright  battle-order.  Vigrid's  plain  is  a  hundred  miles 
wide  on  every  side. 

But  when  these  events  take  place,  Heimdall  will  stand 
up,  and  blow  with  all  his  might  the  Giallar-horn,  and  rouse 
up  every  god  to  hold  a  meeting.  Odin  will  then  ride  to 
Mimir's  well,  and  take  counsel  for  himself  and  friends. 
Then  will  the  ash  Yggdrasil  tremble,  and  nothing  will  be 
free  from  fear  in  heaven  and  earth.  The  .ZEsir  will  arm, 
and  all  the  Einheriar,  and  go  forth  to  the  plain.  Odin 
will  ride  first  with  his  golden  helmet  and  bright  corselet, 
and  his  spear  Gungnir  :  he  will  encounter  the  wolf  Fenrir. 
Thor  will  be  at  his  side,  but  may  not  help  him,  as  he  will 
be  fully  engaged  in  fighting  with  Midgard's  serpent.  Frey 
will  fight  with  Surt,  and  after  a  hard  conflict  fall.  The 
cause  of  his  death  will  be,  the  lack  of  his  good  sword,  which 
he  gave  to  Skirnir.  Then  will  the  dog  Garm  be  loosed, 
which  had  till  then  been  bound  before  Gnipa's  cave  :  he 
will  prove  the  greatest  misfortune ;  he  will  fight  against 

E  5 


Ty,  and  they  will  slay  each  other.  Thor  will  gain  glory 
from  [the  slaying  of]  Midgard's  serpent ;  thence  he  will 
walk  nine  feet,  and  then  fall  dead  from  the  venom  blown 
on  him  by  the  serpent.  The  wolf  will  swallow  Odin,  and 
so  cause  his  death ;  but  immediately  after,  Vidar  will  come 
forth,  and  step  on  the  monster's  nether  jaw  with  the  foot 
on  which  he  will  have  his  formidable  shoe  !.  With  his 
hand  he  will  seize  the  wolf's  upper  jaw,  and  rend  his 
mouth  asunder.  Thus  will  the  wolf  be  slain.  Loki  will 
enter  into  conflict  with  Heimdall,  and  they  will  slay  each 
other.  After  all  this,  Surt  will  hurl  fire  over  the  earth, 
and  burn  the  whole  world. 

After  the  conflagration  of  heaven  and  earth  and  the 
whole  universe,  there  will  still  be  many  dwellings,  some 
good  some  bad,  though  it  will  be  best  to  be  in  Gimli,  in 
heaven :  and  those  who  are  partial  to  good  drinking  will 
find  it  in  the  hall  called  Brimir,  which  is  also  in  heaven 
[in  Okolni] .  That  is  also  a  good  hall  which  stands  on 
the  Nida-fells,  made  of  red  gold,  and  is  called  Sindri.  In 
these  halls  good  and  upright  men  will  dwell.  In  Nastrond 
there  is  a  large  and  horrible  habitation,  the  door  of  which 
is  towards  the  north.  It  is  formed  of  the  backs  of  ser 
pents,  like  a  house  built  of  wands,  but  all  the  serpents' 
heads  are  turned  into  the  house,  and  blow  forth  venom, 
so  that  the  venom  flows  through  the  halls,  in  which  wade 
perjurers  and  murderers,  as  it  is  said  2  : 

She  saw  a  hall 

from  the  sun  far  remote 

on  Nastrond  stand ; 

northward  are  its  doors ; 

through  the  roof  opening 

run  venom- drops ; 

built  is  that  hall 

of  backs  of  snakes ; 

men,  forswearers 

1  See  page  29.  2  Voluspa,  Str.  44. 


and  murderers, 
through  waters  foul, 
wading  she  saw, 
and  who  the  ears  beguile 
of  others'  wives. 

But  in  Hvergelmir  it  is  worst ;  there  l 
the  serpent  Nidhogg 
sucks  the  dead  bodies, 
the  wolf  tears  them. 

There  too  the  river  Slid   (Sltyr)    falls  from  the   east 
through  poisonous  valleys,  filled  with  mud  and  swords 2. 

OF  THE  NEW  WORLD. — There  will  arise,  a  second  time, 
an  earth  from  ocean,  in  verdant  beauty;  waterfalls  will 
descend,  the  eagle  fly  over  that  catches  fish  in  the  moun 
tain-streams.     The  Msir  will  meet  again  on  Ida's  plain, 
and  of  the  mighty  earth-encircler  speak.     There  will  they 
remember  the  great  deeds  of  old,  and  the  glorious  gods' 
ancient  lore.     Then  will  they  find  in  the  grass  the  won 
drous  golden  tables,  which  at  Time's  origin,  the  prince  of 
gods  and  Fiolnir's  race  had  possessed.     Unsown   fields 
shall  then  bear  fruit,  all  evil  cease.     Baldur  shall  return ; 
he  and  Hod  dwell  in  Odin's  noble  hall,  the  heavenly  god's 
abode.     Hoenir  shall  there  offerings  receive,  and  two  bro 
thers'  sons  inhabit  the  spacious  Vindheim.     There  will  be 
a  hall  brighter  than  the  sun,  roofed  with  gold,  in  Gimli ; 
there  virtuous  folk  shall  dwell,  and  happiness  enjoy  for 
evermore.     Then  will  come  the  Mighty  One  to  the  gods' 
council,  powerful  from  above,  he  who  rules  all  things  :  he 
will  pronounce  judgements,  and  appease  quarrels,  establish 
peace  that  shall  last  for  ever.     But  from  beneath,  from 
Nidafell  will  come  flying  the  dusky,  spotted  serpent  Nid 
hogg,  bearing  dead  carcases  on  his  wings  3. 

In  Snorri's  Edda  the  renewal  of  the  world  is  thus  de- 

1  Voluspa,  Str.  45.  2  Ib>  Str<  42> 

3  Gylf.  17,  52,  53.     Voluspa,  Str.  42-45, 59-66.     VafJ>rudnism.  Str  39 
45,  47,  48,  49,  51.     Hyndlulj.  Str.  41. 


scribed.  A  new  earth  will  spring  up  from  the  sea,  which 
will  be  both  green  and  fair ;  there  will  the  unsown  fields 
bring  forth  fruit.  Vidar  and  Vali  will  be  living,  as  if 
neither  the  sea  nor  Surt's  fire  had  injured  them  ;  they  will 
dwell  on  Ida's  plain,  where  Asgard  formerly  stood.  And 
thither  will  come  the  sons  of  Thor,  Modi  and  Magni,  and 
will  have  Miolnir  with  them.  Next  will  come  Baldur  and 
Hod  from  Hel.  They  will  sit  and  converse  together,  and 
call  to  remembrance  their  secret  councils,  and  discourse 
of  events  long  since  past;  of  Midgard's  serpent  and 
the  wolf  Fenrir.  Then  will  they  find  in  the  grass  the 
golden  tables  formerly  belonging  to  the  ^Esir,  as  it  is 
said  :  "  Vidar  and  Vali  shall  inhabit  the  house  of  the  gods, 
when  Surt's  fire  is  quenched."  Modi  and  Magni  will  pos 
sess  Miolnir,  and  labour  to  end  strife.  But  in  a  place 
called  Hoddmimir's  holt,  two  persons,  Lif  and  Lifthrasir, 
will  lie  concealed  during  Surfs  conflagration,  who  will 
feed  on  morning  dew.  From  these  will  come  so  great  a 
progeny,  that  the  whole  earth  will  be  peopled  by  them. 
And  it  will  seem  wonderful,  that  the  sun  will  have  brought 
forth  a  daughter  not  less  fair  than  herself.  She  will 
journey  in  her  mother's  path,  as  it  is  said  :  "  A  daughter 
shall  the  sun  bring  forth  ere  Fenrir  destroys  her.  The 
maid  shall  ride  on  her  mother's  track,  when  the  gods  are 
dead » ."  


Volund  and  his  brothers,  Slagfin  (SlagfrSr)  and  Egil, 
were  the  sons  of  a  king  of  the  Fins.     They  ran  on  snow- 

1  Gylf.  53. 

2  The  Saga  of  Vblund  or  Veland  (Volundr),  though  without  claim  for 
admission  within  the  pale  of  the  MYTHOLOGY  OF  THE  ^EsiR,  yet,  on  ac 
count  of  its  intimate  connection  with  that  mythology,  of  its  high  antiquity, 
as  well  as  of  the  wide-spread,  celebrity  of  its  hero  throughout  the  middle 
age,  cannot  well  be  omitted  in  a  work  professing  to  be  an  account  of  the 
MYTHOLOGY  OF  THE  NORTH.     I  have,  therefore,  added  it. 


skates  and  hunted  the  beasts  of  the  forest.  They  came  to 
a  place  called  Ulfdal,  where  they  built  themselves  a  house 
near  a  lake  called  Ulfsiar  (Wolf-waters) .  One  morning  early 
they  found  on  the  bank  of  the  lake  three  maidens  sitting  and 
spinning  flax, with  swan-plumages  lying  beside  them.  They 
were  Valkyriur.  Two  of  them,  named  Hladgun  Svanhvit 
and  Hervor  Alvit,  were  daughters  of  a  king  named  Hlodver; 
the  third  was  Olrun,  the  daughter  of  Kiar  king  of  Val- 
land.  The  brothers  conducted  them  to  their  dwelling,  and 
took  them  to  wife,  Egil  obtaining  Olrun,  Slagfin  Svan 
hvit,  and  Volund  Alvit.  After  having  lived  eight  years 
with  their  husbands,  the  Valkyriur  flew  away  in  quest  of 
conflicts,  and  did  not  return  ;  whereupon  Egil  and  Slagfin 
set  out  on  their  snow- skates  in  search  of  them,  but  Volund 
remained  at  home  in  Ulfdal.  According  to  old  tradition, 
Volund  was  of  all  men  the  most  skilful.  His  hours  of 
solitude  were  passed  in  making  rings  of  gold  and  setting 
them  with  precious  stones :  these  he  hung  on  a  line  of 
bast.  Thus  did  he  while  away  the  long  hours,  anxiously 
awaiting  his  fair  consort's  return. 

Having  received  intelligence  that  Volund  was  alone  in 
his  dwelling,  Nidud  (Nijm^r),  king  of  the  Niarer  in  Swe 
den,  sent  a  party  of  armed  men  thither  by  night,  during 
Volund' s  absence  at  the  chase,  who  on  searching  the  house, 
found  the  line  of  rings,  to  the  number  of  seven  hundred, 
one  of  which  they  carried  off.  On  his  return,  Volund  pro 
ceeded  to  roast  bear's  flesh,  and  while  the  meat  was  at  the 
fire,  sat  down  on  a  bear-skin  to  count  his  rings.  Missing 
one,  he  concluded  that  Alvit  was  returned  and  had  taken 
it.  In  anxious  expectation  of  seeing  her  enter,  he  at 
length  fell  asleep,  and  on  waking  found  that  his  hands 
and  feet  were  fast  bound  with  heavy  chains,  and  that  Nidud 
was  standing  by  his  side,  who  charged  him  with  having 
stolen  the  gold  from  him  of  which  the  rings  were  made. 
Volund  repelled  the  charge,  declaring  that  while  their 


wives  were  with  them  they  had  possessed  many  treasures. 
The  ring  Nidud  gave  to  his  daughter  Bodvildi ;  but  a 
sword,  in  the  tempering  and  hardening  of  which  Volund 
had  exerted  his  utmost  skill,  Nidud  took  for  himself. 

Apprehensive  of  vengeance  on  the  part  of  Volund,  for 
the  injuries  he  had  inflicted  on  him,  Nidud,  at  the  sug 
gestion  of  his  queen,  caused  him  to  be  hamstringed l,  and 
confined  on  an  islet  called  Ssevarstod.  Here  he  fabricated 
all  kinds  of  precious  things  for  the  king,  who  allowed  no 
one  excepting  himself  to  visit  him.  One  day,  however,  the 
two  young  sons  of  Nidud,  heedless  of  the  prohibition, 
came  to  Volund' s  habitation,  and  proceeding  at  once  to 
the  chest  in  which  his  valuables  were  kept,  demanded 
the  keys.  Here  they  feasted  their  eyes  over  the  many 
costly  ornaments  of  gold  thus  brought  to  view,  and  re 
ceived  from  Volund  the  promise,  that  if  they  would  return 
on  a  future  day,  he  would  make  them  a  present  of  the 
gold  they  had  seen,  at  the  same  time  enjoining  them  to 
keep  their  visit  a  secret  from  all.  They  came  accordingly, 
and  while  stooping  over  the  contents  of  the  chest,  Volund 
struck  off"  their  heads,  and  concealed  their  bodies  in  an 
adjacent  dunghill.  The  upper  part  of  their  skulls  he  set 
in  silver,  and  presented  them  as  drinking  cups  to  Nidud ; 
of  their  eyes  he  formed  precious  stones  (pearls),  which  he 
gave  to  Nidud' s  queen ;  of  their  teeth  he  made  breast- 
ornaments,  which  he  sent  to  Bodvildi. 

Bodvildi  having  broken  the  ring  given  to  her  by  her  father 
from  Volund' s  collection,  and  fearing  her  father's  anger, 

1  Another  and,  no  doubt,  older  tradition  respecting  Volund  is  referred 
to  by  Deor  the  skald  (Cod.  Exon.  p.  377),  according  to  which  Nithhad,  as 
he  is  called  in  the  A.  S.  poem,  only  bound  him  with  a  thong  of  sinews  : 
SiH>an  nine  NriShad  on  When  that  on  him  Nithhad 

nede  legde,  constraint  had  laid, 

swoncre  seono-bende.  with  a  tough  (pliant)  sinew-band. 

The  hamstringing  will  then  appear  to  be  a  later  improvement  on  the 


took  it  privately  to  Volund,  in  order  to  have  it  repaired. 
f<  I  will  so  mend  it,"  said  he,  "  that  thou  shalt  appear 
fairer  to  thy  father,  and  much  better  to  thy  mother  and 
thyself/'  He  then  gave  her  beer,  which  so  overpowered 
her  that  she  fell  asleep,  and  while  in  that  state  fell  a 
victim  to  the  passions  of  Volund.  "  Now/'  exclaimed  he, 
"  are  all  the  sufferings  save  one  avenged  that  I  underwent 
in  the  forest.  I  wish  only  that  I  had  again  the  use  of  my 
sinews,  of  which  Nidud' s  men  deprived  me."  Laughing 
he  then  raised  himself  in  air,  while  Bodvildi  in  tears  de 
parted  from  the  islet.  Descending  on  the  wall  of  the 
royal  palace,  Volund  called  aloud  to  Nidud,  who,  on  in 
quiring  what  had  become  of  his  sons,  was  thus  answered  : 
"  First  thou  shalt  swear  to  me  all  these  oaths  :  By  board 
of  ship,  and  buckler's  rim,  by  horse's  shoulder,  and  edge 
of  sword,  that  thou  wilt  not  harm  the  wife  of  Volund,  or 
cause  her  death,  be  she  known  to  you  or  not,  or  whether 
or  not  we  have  offspring.  Go  to  the  smithy  that  thou  hast 
built,  there  wilt  thou  see  the  blood-stained  trunks  of  thy 
young  ones.  I  struck  off  their  heads,  and  in  the  prison's 
filth  laid  their  carcases ;  their  skulls  I  set  in  silver,  and 
sent  them  to  Nidud ;  of  their  eyes  I  formed  precious  stones, 
and  sent  them  to  Nidud's  crafty  wife ;  of  their  teeth  I 
made  breast-pearls,  which  I  sent  to  Bodvildi,  your  only 
daughter,  who  is  now  pregnant."  Then  laughing  at  the 
threats  and  maledictions  of  Nidud,  Volund  again  raised 
himself  on  high.  Thereupon  Nidud  summoned  to  his  pre 
sence  his  daughter  Bodvildi,  who  confessed  to  him  all  that 
had  befallen  her  on  the  islet. 

The  foregoing  Saga,  from  Ssemund's  Edda,  differs  ma 
terially  in  its  details  from  the  story  of  f  Velint,'  as  given 
in  the  Vilkina  Saga,  the  substance  of  which  has  been  thus 
condensed  by  the  late  learned  Dr.  Peter  Erasmus  Miiller, 
Bishop  of  Seeland1. 

1  Sagabibliothek,  Bd.  ii.  p.  154. 


While  King  Vilkinus,  on  his  return  from  an  expedition 
to  the  Baltic,  lay  with  his  fleet  on  the  coast  of  Russia,  he 
went  one  day  up  into  a  forest,  where  he  met  with  a  beau 
tiful  woman,  who  was  a  mermaid l.  In  the  following  year 
she  brought  forth  a  son,  who  received  the  name  of  Vadi 2, 
and  grew  to  a  gigantic  stature.  His  father,  who  had  no 
great  affection  for  him,  nevertheless  gave  him  twelve  man 
sions  in  Seeland.  Vadi  had  a  son  named  Velint,  who,  in 
his  ninth  year,  was  placed  by  his  father  for  instruction 
with  a  smith  named  Mimir  in  Hunaland,  where  he  had 
much  to  endure  from  Sigurd  Svend,  who  was  also  under 
the  same  master.  This  coming  to  the  knowledge  of  his 
father  in  Seeland,  he,  at  the  expiration  of  three  years,  took 
his  son  away  from  Mimir,  and  placed  him  with  two  skil 
ful  dwarfs,  who  dwelt  in  the  mountain  of  Kallova  (Kullen). 
two  years  afterwards  his  father  went  to  fetch  him,  but 
perished  by  a  mountain-slip.  Velint  slew  the  dwarfs,  who, 
being  envious  of  his  superior  skill,  had  sought  his  life. 
He  then  placed  himself  with  his  tools  in  a  hollowed  tree, 
having  a  glass  window  in  front,  and  committed  himself  to 
the  mercy  of  the  waves,  which  bore  him  to  the  coast  of 
Jutland,  where  he  was  well  received  by  Nidung,  who  at 
that  time  ruled  in  Thy.  Here  he  availed  himself  of  the 
opportunity  of  showing  how  greatly  he  excelled  in  curious 
works  the  king's  own  smith  ^Emilias. 

It  happened  on  a  certain  time  that  the  king  went  forth 
to  war  with  thirty  thousand  horse,  and  had  proceeded  five 
days  at  the  head  of  his  army,  when  he  discovered  that 
he  had  left  behind  him  the  talisman  (sigursteinn)  which 

1  In  the  German  poem  of  the  Rabenschlacht,  964,  969,  she  is  called 
Frou  Wachilt. 

2  In  the  Scop  or  Scald's  Tale  (Cod.  Exon.  320,  1)  we  have  "  Wada 
(weold)  Haelsingum  "  (Wada  ruled  the  Helsings).    Memorials  of  this  tribe 
are  Helsingborg,  Helsingor  (Elsinor),  Helsingfors,  Helsingland,  etc.  Wade's 
boat,  Guingelot,  is  celebrated  by  Chaucer. 


brought  him  victory.  To  repair  his  mishap,  he  promised 
to  bestow  his  daughter  and  half  his  kingdom  on  him  who 
should  bring  him  the  talisman  on  the  following  day  be 
fore  sunset.  Velint  performs  the  feat,  but  having  by  the 
way  killed  one  of  the  king's  men  in  self-defence,  it  affords 
the  king  a  pretext  for  declaring  him  an  outlaw.  To  wreak 
his  vengeance,  Velint  disguises  himself  as  a  cook,  and  puts 
charmed  herbs  in  the  food  of  the  princess,  but  she  detects 
the  treachery,  and  Velint  is  seized,  hamstringed,  and  con 
demned  to  make  ornaments  in  the  king's  court  for  his 

At  this  time,  by  Velint' s  desire,  his  younger  brother 
Egil  came  to  Nidung's  court.  Being  famed  for  his  skill 
in  archery,  the  king  commanded  him  to  shoot  an  apple,  at 
a  single  shot,  from  the  head  of  his  son,  a  child  of  three 
years.  Having  performed  this  deed,  the  king,  seeing  that 
he  had  taken  two  arrows  from  his  quiver,  demanded  of 
him  for  what  purpose  they  were  intended  ?  Egil  answered, 
"  They  were  designed  for  thee,  if  I  had  hit  the  child." 
This  bold  answer  was  not  taken  amiss  by  the  king. 

Velint  in  the  meantime  was  brooding  over  vengeance. 
One  day  the  king's  daughter  came  to  his  smithy,  for  the 
purpose  of  getting  a  broken  ring  mended ;  when  Velint, 
availing  himself  of  the  opportunity,  violated  her.  This 
crime  was  shortly  after  followed  by  the  murder  of  the 
king's  two  youngest  sons,  whom  he  had  enticed  to  his 
smithy.  Their  bones  he  set  in  costly  golden  vessels,  which 
were  placed  on  their  father's  table.  Velint  then  made 
himself  a  plumage  of  feathers  collected  by  his  brother  Egil, 
by  means  of  which  he  flew  up  on  the  highest  tower  of  the 
palace,  from  whence  he  declared  all  that  he  had  done. 
Nidung  on  hearing  this  commanded  Egil,  under  threats 
of  death,  to  shoot  his  brother,  and  he  actually  struck  him 
under  the  left  arm,  but  where,  as  had  been  previously 
concerted  between  them,  a  bladder  was  placed  filled  with 


blood,  which  Nidung  imagined  to  be  the  blood  of  Velint : 
he,  however,  flew  to  his  father's  abode  in  Seeland.  Shortly 
after  these  events  Nidung  died,  and  Velint  was  reconciled 
with  his  son  Otwin,  and  married  his  sister,  who  had 
already  borne  him  a  son  named  Vidga1. 

OR  HOLGABRU^R)  AND  IRPA. — Objects  of  worship  among 
the  people  of  Halgoland,  in  Norway,  were  Thorgerd  Hor- 
gabrud  and  her  sister  Irpa.  Who  these  were  will  appear 
from  the  following  extract : — 

"  The  Halgolanders  had  their  local  deities,  who  were 
but  rarely  worshiped  by  the  other  Scandinavians.  One  of 
these  was  Halogi  (high  flame),  or  Helgi  (holy),  from 
whom  the  whole  district,  of  which  he  was  king,  derived  its 
name  of  Haloga-land,  or  Holga-land2.  He  was  probably 
identical  with  the  Logi  and  Loki  (fire,  flame)  formerly 
worshiped  by  the  Fins.  His  daughters  were  Thorgerd 
Horgabrud,  or  Holgabrud,  and  Irpa,  of  whom  the  former 
was  an  object  of  especial  veneration  with  Hakon  Jarl,  and 
to  propitiate  whom,  we  are  informed,  he  sacrificed  his  son 
Erling,  a  child  of  seven  years,  when  engaged  in  a  doubt 
ful  battle  with  the  pirates  of  Jomsborg.  She  consequently 
appeared  in  a  raging  hail-storm  from  the  north,  and  the 
pirates  imagined  that  they  saw  both  her  and  her  sister 
Irpa  on  board  of  the  jarFs  ship ;  an  arrow  flew  from  each 
of  her  fingers,  and  every  arrow  carried  a  man's  death8. 
In  Gudbrandsdal  she  and  Irpa  together  with  Thor  were 
worshiped  in  a  temple,  which  Hakon  Jarl  and  the  chief 
tain  Gudbrand  possessed  in  common4.  In  western  Nor- 

1  The  Wudga  mentioned  in  The  Scop  or  Scald's  Song  (Cod.  Exon.  326), 
the  Vidrik  Verlandson  of  the  Danish  Kjaempeviser.     For  the  several  ex 
tracts  relating  to  these  personages,  from  German  and  Northern  sources, 
see  W.  Grimm's  Deutsche  Heldensage  passim. 

2  See  p.  27. 

3  Jomsv.  S.  edit.  1824,  c.  14.     Fornm.  S.  xi.  p.  134.    Olaf  Tryggv.  S. 
in  Fornm.  S.  p.  90.  4  Njalss.  p.  89. 


way  she  had  also  a  temple  most  sumptuously  constructed, 
in  which  the  said  Hakon  Jarl  paid  her  the  most  profound 
adoration1.  Even  in  Iceland  Thorgerd  was  worshiped  in 
a  temple  at  Olves-vand,  and  was  regarded  as  a  tutelary 
spirit  by  the  chieftain  Grimkell  and  his  family2.  Her 
statue  is  described  as  having  gold  rings  on  the  arms3. 


In  consequence  of  its  immediate  connection  with  the 
Mythology  of  the  JEsir,  it  has  been  deemed  desirable  to 
relate  the  origin  of  the  celebrated  Nibelungen  Hoard  or 
Treasure,  the  calamities  caused  by  which  form  the  subject 
of  so  many  compositions,  both  Scandinavian  and  German. 
The  following  condensation  of  the  story  is  chiefly  by  the 
late  learned  Bishop  Peter  Erasmus  Miiller4. 

There  was  a  man  named  Sigi ;  he  was  descended  from 
the  gods,  and  was  called  a  son  of  Odin.  There  was  an 
other  man  named  Skadi,  who  had  a  bold  and  active  thrall 
called  Bredi.  Sigi  went  out  to  hunt  with  Bredi,  but  in  a 
fit  of  jealousy  at  the  greater  success  of  the  thrall,  he  slew 
him.  Sigi  thus  became  an  outlaw,  and,  conducted  by 
Odin,  went  far  away,  and  obtained  some  war-ships,  by 
means  of  which  he  at  length  became  king  over  Hunaland. 
In  his  old  age  he  was  slain  by  his  wife's  relations,  but  his 
son,  Rerir,  avenged  his  death  on  them  all. 

Rerir  became  a  great  warrior,  but  had  no  offspring.  He 
and  his  queen  prayed  fervently  to  the  gods  for  an  heir. 
Their  prayer  was  heard.  Odin  sent  his  maiden  (dskmey)5, 

1  Faereyings.  23. 

2  Saga  of  HorSi,  i.  18.  Lex.  Myth.  p.  981.  Keyser,  Nordm.  Relig.  p  75 
8  Fornra.  S.  ii.  p.  108. 

4  Sagabibliothek,  Bd.  ii.  p.  36. 

5  The  same  as  a  Valkyria,  and  probably  so  called  from  Oski,  one  of  the 
names  of  Odin.     See  p.  15  and  note,  and  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  390. 


a  daughter  of  the  giant  (jotun)  Hrimnir,  with  an  apple  to 
the  king.  She  assumed  the  guise  of  a  crow  (krageham), 
flew  to  a  mound,  on  which  Rerir  was  sitting,  and  let  the 
apple  fall  into  his  bosom.  The  king  ate  of  it,  and  his 
queen  forthwith  became  pregnant,  but  could  not  bring 
forth.  In  this  state  she  passed  six  years,  when  a  wonder 
fully  large  child  was  cut  from  her  womb.  He  was  named 
Volsung,  and  kissed  his  mother  before  her  death. 

Volsung  married  the  daughter  of  Hrimnir,  by  whom  he 
had  ten  sons,  and  a  daughter  named  Signi.  Sigmund  and 
Signi,  the  eldest,  were  twins.  Signi  was  married  to  a 
king  of  Gothland,  named  Siggeir.  At  the  nuptial  feast 
there  came  a  tall,  one-eyed  old  man,  barefooted,  wrapt  in 
a  cloak,  with  a  broad-brimmed  hat,  into  the  hall,  in  the 
middle  of  which  stood  an  oak1,  whose  roots  passed  under 
the  floor,  while  its  branches  covered  the  roof.  The  old 
man  struck  a  sword  into  the  trunk  of  the  tree,  as  a  gift 
for  any  one  who  should  draw  it  forth.  Sigmund  acquired 
the  sword,  to  the  mortification  of  Siggeir,  who  on  his  de 
parture  invites  Volsung  to  be  his  guest  in  Gothland ;  but 
on  his  arrival  there,  attacks  him  with  an  overwhelming 
force,  slays  him,  and  makes  all  his  sons  prisoners. 

Signi  begged  that  her  brothers  might  not  be  imme 
diately  put  to  death.  Their  feet  were  set  fast  in  a  large 
tree  in  the  forest,  and  every  night  there  came  a  wolf  and 
devoured  one  of  them,  until  Sigmund  was  the  only  one 
left.  Signi  caused  his  face  to  be  smeared  with  honey,  and 
some  to  be  laid  in  his  mouth,  so  that  when  the  wolf  came, 
he  licked  the  honey,  and  put  his  tongue  into  Sigmund's 
mouth,  which  Sigmund  seized  with  his  teeth.  The  wolf 
kicked  with  so  much  violence  that  the  trunk  of  the  tree 
burst  asunder.  The  wolf  lost  his  tongue,  and  got  his 
death.  Sigmund  fled  to  a  cave  in  the  forest.  Signi  sent 
1  This  primitive  style  of  building  speaks  strongly  for  the  antiquity  of 
the  legend. 


her  two  sons  to  bear  him  company ;  but  finding  they  were 
not  sufficiently  stout  and  valiant,  he  killed  them  by  the 
counsel  of  Signi;  who  then  changed  form  with  a  troll- 
wife,  and  was  three  days  in  the  cave  with  her  brother,  to 
whom  she  bore  a  son,  who  was  named  Sinfiotli.    He,  when 
ten  years  old,  was  sent  to  Sigmund' s  cave,  and  was  bold 
enough  to  knead  a  dough,  without  caring  for  the  nume 
rous  snakes  that  were  in  it.     Sigmund  then  and  his  son 
turned  robbers.     One  day  they  fell  in  with  the  sons  of 
some  king,  who  nine  days  in  ten,  through  enchantment, 
wore  the  form  of  wolves1.     By  putting  on  their  wolfish 
garbs,  Sigmund  and  his  son  became  wolves ;  but  when  the 
time  came  for  laying  them  aside,  they  burnt  them,  so  that 
they  might  do  no  more  harm.  They  now  went  to  Siggeii^s 
castle,  where  they  concealed  themselves,  but  were  disco 
vered  through  two  young  children  of  Signi.    These,  at  the 
instigation  of  Signi,  were  slain  by  Sinfiotli,  who,  together 
with  Sigmund,  was  immediately  after  overpowered  by  Sig- 
geir's  men,  and  cast  into  a  pit,  to  die  of  hunger.     Just 
before  the  pit  was  closed,  Signi  came  to  it,  and  threw  into 
it  a  helmet  full  of  pork,  and  Sigmund' s  sword,  by  the  aid 
of  which  they  worked  their  way  out.     They  then  set  the 
royal  castle  on  fire.     When  Signi  heard  what  had  taken 
place,  she  went  out  and  kissed  them  both,  then  went  in 
again,  glad  to  die  with  the  man  with  whom  she  had  so 
unwillingly  lived. 

Sigmund,  who  had  returned  to  his  paternal  kingdom  of 
Hunaland,  married  Borghild,  by  whom  he  had  a  son, 
Helgi,  of  whom  the  Noras  foretold  that  he  should  become 
a  powerful  prince.  Helgi  went  to  war,  together  with  Sin 
fiotli,  and  slew  King  Hunding,  whence  he  acquired  the 

1  This  is  the  earliest  trace  of  the  werwolf  superstition  occurring  in  the 
traditions  of  the  North.  While  Sigmund  and  his  son  slept,  their  wolf 
skins  hung  close  by  them  (Fornald.  Sogur,  i.  130,  131).  In  the  Leges 
Eccl.  of  Cnut,  xxvi.,  the  werwolf  is  named  as  a  known,  existing  being. 


name  of  Hundingsbani,  and  afterwards  slew  several  of  his 
sons.  In  a  forest  he  met  with  Sigran,  a  daughter  of  King 
Hogni,  who  solicited  him  to  free  her  from  Hodbrod,  son 
of  Granmar,  to  whom  her  father  had  betrothed  her.  Hod- 
brod  is  slain  in  a  battle,  Helgi  marries  Sigrun,  and  be 
comes  a  powerful  king. 

In  another   expedition,    Sinfiotli   killed   a  brother   oi 
Borghild,  who  in   revenge  prepared  a  poisonous  drink, 
which  caused  his  death.     Sigmund  bore  the  corpse  in  his 
arms  to  a  narrow  frith,  where  there  was  a  man  with  a 
small  boat,  who  offered  to  convey  him  across;  but  no 
sooner  had  Sigmund  laid  the  corpse  in  the  boat,  than  the 
man  pushed  off  and  vanished.    After  this  Sigmund  parted 
from  Borghild  and  married  Hiordis,  a  daughter  of  King 
Eilimi,  but  was  attacked  in  his  kingdom  by  King  Lmgi, 
who  with  his  brothers  had  assembled  a  numerous  army. 
Sigmund  fought  valiantly  in  the  battle,  until  he  was  met 
by  a  one-eyed  man,  with  a  broad  hat,  and  blue  cloak,  who 
held  his  spear  against  the  sword  of  the  king,  which  it  shi 
vered  into  fragments.    Sigmund  fell  with  almost  the  whole 
of  his  army.    At  night,  Hiordis  came  to  the  field  of  battle, 
and  asked  Sigmund  whether  he  could  be  healed,  but  he 
declined  her  kind  offices,  for  his  good  fortune  had  forsaken 
him,  since  Odin  had  broken  his  sword,  of  which  he  re 
quested  Hiordis  to  collect  the  fragments,  and  give  them 
to  the  son  she  bore  under  her  heart,  who  should  become 
the  greatest  of  the  Volsung  race. 

Hiordis  was  carried  off  by  Alf,  a  son  of  King  Hialprek  of 
Denmark,  who  had  just  landed  at  the  battle-place  with  a 
band  of  vikings.  She  had  changed  clothes  with  her  at 
tendant,  who  gave  herself  out  as  queen.  But  Alf  s  mother, 
suspecting  the  artifice,  caused  her  son  to  ask,  how  towards 
the  end  of  night  they  could  know  what  hour  it  was,  when 
they  could  not  look  on  the  heavens  ?  The  servant  an 
swered,  that  in  her  youth  she  had  been  in  the  habit  of 


drinking  mead  at  early  morn,  and  therefore  always  woke 
at  the  same  hour.  But  Hiordis  answered,  that  her  father 
had  given  her  a  gold  ring,  which  cooled  her  finger  by 
night,  and  that  was  her  sign.  "  Now,"  said  the  king,  "  I 
know  which  is  the  mistress,"  and  expressed  his  intention 
to  marry  her  as  soon  as  she  had  given  birth  to  her  child. 
After  the  birth  of  Sigurd  (SigurJ?r),  Hiordis  accordingly 
became  the  wife  of  Hialprek. 

Sigurd  grew  up  in  Hialprek' s  court,  under  the  care  of 
Regin,  who  instructed  him  in  all  the  branches  of  know 
ledge  known  at  that  time,  as  chess,  runes,  and  many  lan 
guages.  He  also  urged  him  to  demand  his  father's  trea 
sure  of  Hialprek.  Sigurd  asked  a  horse  of  the  king,  who 
allowed  him  to  choose  one ;  and  Odin,  in  the  guise  of  an 
old  man  with  a  long  beard,  aided  him  to  find  out  Grani, 
that  was  of  Sleipnir's  race.  Regin  would  then  have  him 
go  in  quest  of  FafmVs  gold,  of  which  he  gave  him  the  fol 
lowing  account. 

"  Hreidmar  had  three  sons,  Fafnir  (Fofnir,)  Ottur,  and 
Regin.  Ottur  could  transform  himself  into  an  otter,  under 
which  form  he  was  in  the  habit  of  catching  fish  in  And- 
vari's  water-fall,  so  called  from  a  dwarf  of  that  name.  He 
was  one  day  sitting  with  his  eyes  shut  eating  a  salmon, 
when  Odin,  Hcenir,  and  Loki  chanced  to  pass  by.  On 
seeing  the  otter,  Loki  cast  a  stone  at  it  and  killed  it. 
The  .ZEsir  then  skinned  the  otter,  and  came  well  satisfied 
with  their  prize  to  Hreidmar' s  dwelling.  There  they  were 
seized,  and  compelled  to  redeem  themselves  with  as  much 
gold  as  would  both  fill  and  cover  the  otter's  skin.  To  ob 
tain  the  gold,  Loki  borrowed  Ran's1  net,  cast  it  into  the 
water-fall,  and  caught  in  it  the  dwarf  Andvari,  who  was 
accustomed  to  fish  there  under  the  form  of  a  pike.  The 
dwarf  was  compelled  to  give  all  his  gold  as  the  price  of 
his  liberty ;  but  on  Loki  taking  from  him  his  last  ring,  he 
1  See  p.  27. 


foretold  that  it  should  prove  the  bane  of  all  its  possessors. 
With  this  gold  the  JSsir  enclosed  the  otter's  skin ;  but  on 
Hreidmar  perceiving  a  hair  of  the  beard  still  uncovered, 
Odin  threw  on  it  the  ring  of  Andvari.  Fafnir  afterwards 
slew  his  father,  took  all  the  gold,  and  became  one  of  the 
worst  of  serpents,  and  now  watched  over  his  treasure." 

Sigurd  then  requested  Regin  to  forge  him  a  sword.  He 
forged  two,  but  their  blades  would  not  stand  proof.  Si 
gurd  then  brought  him  the  fragments  of  Sigmund's  sword, 
of  which  he  forged  one  that  could  cleave  an  anvil  and  cut 
through  floating  wool.  Armed  with  this  weapon,  Sigurd 
went  forth,  first  to  his  maternal  uncle  Grip,  who  foretold 
him  his  destiny.  He  then  sailed  with  a  chosen  army  to 
avenge  his  father's  death  on  the  sons  of  Hunding.  During 
a  storm  they  were  hailed  by  an  old  man,  from  a  point  of 
land,  whom  they  took  on  board.  He  told  them  his  name 
was  Hnikar1,  together  with  much  other  matter.  The  storm 
then  abated,  and  as  he  stept  on  shore,  he  vanished.  Hun- 
ding's  sons  with  a  large  army  encountered  Sigurd,  but 
were  all  slain,  and  Sigurd  returned  with  great  honour. 

Sigurd  was  now  impatient  to  slay  the  serpent,  whose 
lair  had  been  pointed  out  to  him  by  llegin.  An  old  long- 
bearded  man  warned  him  to  beware  of  the  monster's  blood. 
Sigurd  pierces  Fafnir  through,  who,  nevertheless,  holds  a 
long  conversation  with  his  slayer,  in  which  he  answers  the 
latter' s  questions  relative  to  the  Norns  and  ^Esir,  but 
strives  in  vain  to  dissuade  him  from  taking  the  gold2. 

After  the  death  of  Fafnir,  Regin,  who  had  concealed 
himself,  came  forth,  drank  of  Fafnir' s  blood,  cut  out  his 

1  This  was  Odin,  one  of  whose  numerous  names  was  Hnikar  (see  p.  15, 
note),  under  which  he  appears  as  a  marine  deity. 

2  On  receiving  the  fatal  wound,  Fafnir  demanded  to  know  the  name  of 
his  murderer,  which  Sigurd  at  first  declined  giving  him,  in  the  belief  (as 
Bishop  Miiller  supposes)  then  prevalent,  that  the  words  of  a  dying  man 
possessed  great  power,  when  he  cursed  his  enemy  by  name.     See  Edda 
Saem.  p.  186. 


heart  with  the  sword  named  Rithil,  and  requested  Sigurd 
to  roast  it  for  him.  As  Sigurd  touched  the  heart  with  his 
finger,  a  drop  by  chance  lighted  on  his  tongue,  and  he  in 
stantly  understood  the  language  of  birds.  He  heard  an 
eagle1  tell  its  companion  that  Sigurd  would  act  wisely,  if 
he  himself  were  to  eat  the  serpent's  heart.  Another  eagle 
said,  that  Regin  would  deceive  him.  A  third,  that  he 
ought  to  slay  Regin.  A  fourth,  that  he  ought  to  take  the 
serpent's  gold,  and  ride  to  the  wise  Brynhild  at  Hindar- 
fiall.  All  these  feats  Sigurd  performs,  and  rides  off  with 
the  treasure  on  Grants  back2. 

Sigurd  now  bent  his  course  southwards  to  Frakland3, 
and  rode  a  long  time,  until  he  came  to  Hindarfiall,  where 
he  saw  before  him  a  light  flaring  up  to  the  sky,  and  a 
shield-burgh,  within  which  he  found  a  damsel  sleeping  in 
complete  armour,  whose  corselet  seemed  to  have  grown 
fast  to  her  body.  On  Sigurd  ripping  up  the  corselet  with 
his  sword,  the  maiden  awoke,  and  said  that  she  was  a  Val- 
kyria  and  named  Brynhild4,  that  Odin  had  condemned 
her  to  that  state  of  sleep  by  pricking  her  with  a  sleep- 
thorn5,  because,  contrary  to  his  will,  she  had  aided  king 
Agnar  (or  Audbrod)  in  waiyand  slain  king  Hialmgunnar. 

Sigurd  begged  her  to  give  him  some  instruction,  and 
she  taught  him  the  power  of  runes,  and  gave  him  lessons 

1  The  word  ig>a  signifies  the  female  eagle,  though  it  may  also  signify 
swallow,  owl,  partridge. 

2  Among  which  were  the  famed  (Egir-hialm,  which  Fafnir  was  wont  to 
wear  while  brooding  over  the  treasure,  a  golden  corselet,  and  the  sword 

3  That  is  Frankenland,  the  land  of  the  Franks,  Franconia. 

4  According  to  the  Brynhildar-kviSa  I.,  she  was  named  Sigurdrifa,  an 
other  name,  it  is  said,  of  Brynhild.     From  this  passage  it  appears  that 
Odin  received  mortals  of  royal  race  into  his  band  of  Valkyriur. 

5  Svefn->orn,  spina  soporifera.     A  superstition  not  yet  wholly  extinct 
in  Denmark  and  Iceland.     It  was  supposed  that  a  person  could  not  be 
wakened  out  of  this  sleep  as  long  as  the  thorn  lay  on  his  body  or  remained 
sticking  in  his  clothes. 


for  his  conduct  in  life.  They  engaged  on  oath  to  marry 
each  other,  and  Sigurd  took  his  departure.  His  shield 
blazed  with  the  red  gold,  on  it  was  depicted  a  dragon,  dark 
brown  above,  and  bright  red  beneath,  a  memorial  of  the 
monster  he  had  slain,  which  the  Vserings  call  Fafnir.  Si 
gurd's  hair  was  brown,  and  fell  in  long  locks,  his  beard 
short  and  thick ;  few  could  look  on  his  piercing  eyes.  He 
was  so  tall  that,  when  girded  with  his  sword  Gram,  which 
was  seven  spans  long,  he  went  through  a  ripe  rye  field, 
the  knob  of  his  sword-sheath  still  stood  forth.  When  all 
the  stoutest  warriors  and  greatest  captains  are  spoken  of, 
he  is  mentioned  the  first,  and  his  name  is  current  in  all 

Sigurd  rode  on  until  he  came  to  a  spacious  mansion, 
the  rich  lord  of  which  was  named  Heimir.  He  was  mar 
ried  to  a  sister  of  Brynhild,  named  Bekhild  (Bsenkhild) . 
Sigurd  was  received  with  pomp,  and  lived  there  a  consi 
derable  time  in  great  honour.  Brynhild  was  also  there  on 
a  visit  to  her  relations,  and  employed  herself  with  embroi 
dering  in  gold  the  exploits  of  Sigurd — the  slaying  of  the 
serpent  and  carrying  off  the  gold. 

It  chanced  one  day  that  Sigurd's  falcon  flew  and  perched 
on  the  window  of  a  high  tower.  On  going  in  pursuit  of 
it,  Sigurd  discovered  Brynhild  at  her  work.  Hereupon  he 
became  thoughtful,  and  imparted  to  Heimir's  son,  Al- 
s with,  what  a  beautiful  woman  he  had  seen  embroidering 
his  deeds.  Alswith  told  him  that  it  was  Brynhild,  Budlr's 
daughter;  whereupon  Sigurd  observed,  that  only  a  few- 
days  before  he  had  learned  that  she  was  the  most  beauti 
ful  woman  in  the  world,  and  expressed  his  resolution  to 
visit  her,  although  Alswith  informed  him  that  she  would 
never  endure  a  husband,  but  that  her  thoughts  were  solely 
bent  on  warfare1. 

1  According  to  this  account,  Sigurd  appears  now  to  have  seen  Brynhild 
for  the  first  time,  which  is  completely  at  variance  with  what  we  have  just 


She  received   him  with   great   state  and   friendliness. 
When  she  presented  to  him  the  golden  cup  with  wine,  he 
seized  her  hand,  and  placed  her  by 'him,  clasped  her  round 
the  neck,  kissed  her,  and  said,  "  No  woman  born  is  fairer 
than  thou."     She  answered,  "  It  is  not  prudent  to  place 
one's  happiness  in  the  power  of  women :  they  too  often 
break  their  vows."      "The  happy  day  will  come/'  said 
Sigurd,  "that  we  may  enjoy  each  other."     Brynhild  an 
swered  that  such  was  not  the  will  of  fate,  for  that  she  was 
a  shield-maid.     Sigurd  replied,  "It  were  best  for  both 
that  we  lived  together.     The  pain  I  now  feel  is  harder  to 
endure  than  sharp  weapons."     Brynhild  said,  "  I  shall  go 
to  the  battle-field,   and  thou  wilt  marry   Gudrun,   king 
Giuki's  daughter."     "  No  king's  daughter,"  said  Sigurd, 
"  shall  seduce  me ;  nor  am  I  given  to  fickleness.     I  swear 
to  thee  by  the  gods,  that  I  will  have  thee  to  wife,  and  none 
other."     Brynhild  also  expressed  herself  in  words  to  the 
same  purpose.     Sigurd  expressed  his  gratitude,  gave  her 
Andvari's  ring,  swore  anew,  and  went  away  to  his  people. 
There  was  a  king  named  Giuki,  who  dwelt  south  of  the 
Rhine.  He  had  three  sons,  Gunnar,  Hogni,  and  Guttorm. 
Gudrun  (GuSrun)  his  daughter  was  fairest  of  maidens. 
Her  mother  was  the  noted  sorceress  Grimhild.     Gudrun 
dreamed  that  a  most  beautiful  falcon  came  to  her  hand ; 
she  thereupon  became  thoughtful :  it  was  said  to  betoken 
some  king's    son.     Gudrun   betook  herself  to  the  wise 
Brynhild,  sister  to  the  wicked  king  Atli,  that  she  might 
hear  her  interpretation.     Gudrun  was,  however,  reserved 
towards   her,    and    simply   inquired    the    names    of    the 
mightiest  kings  and  their  exploits.    Brynhild  named  Haki 
and  Hagbard,  but  Gudrun  thought  they  were  too  inactive 

read  of  their  previous  meeting  and  mutual  vows.  Either  Sigurdrifa  is  a 
different  personage  from  Brynhild,  or  the  story  of  Sigurd's  first  interview 
with  her  is  a  fragment  of  some  lost  version  of  the  legend,  varying  consi 
derably  from  what  is  extant  in  the  Eddas.and  the  Volsunga  Saga. 


in  avenging  their  sister,  who  had  been  carried  off  by  Sigar. 
Gudrun  then  named  her  own  brothers,  but  Brynhild  said 
that  they  had  not  yet  proved  themselves  ;  but  that  Sigurd 
Fafnisbana  was  the  flower  of  all  heroes.  Gudrun  then 
told  her  that  she  had  dreamed  of  a  beautiful  hart,  of  which 
all  were  in  chase,  but  which  she  alone  overtook,  and  that 
Brynhild  killed  it  in  her  lap.  Brynhild  then  recounted  to 
her  her  whole  future  destiny,  and  Gudrun  returned  to 
Guild's  palace. 

Thither  shortly  after  came  Sigurd,  riding  on  Grani  with 
all  his  treasure.  Grimhild  conceived  such  an  attachment 
to  him  that  she  was  desirous  he  should  marry  her  daugh 
ter;  and  therefore  gave  him  a  charmed  potion,  which 
caused  him  to  forget  Brynhild,  to  swear  fellowship  with 
Gunnar  and  Hogni,  and  to  marry  Gudrun1. 

When  Sigurd  and  the  sons  of  Giuki  had  traversed  far 
and  wide  over  the  country,  and  performed  many  great 
feats,  Grimhild  persuaded  her  son  Gunnar  to  woo  Bryn 
hild,  Budli's  daughter,  who  was  still  dwelling  with  Heimir 
in  Hlindal.  Her  maiden -bower  was  encircled  with  glowing 
tire,  and  she  would  marry  that  man  only  who  should  ride 
through  it.  The  princes  rode  thither,  but  Gunnar  could 
not  force  his  horse  over  the  fire.  He  and  Sigurd  then  ex 
changed  forms,  and  the  latter  on  Grani  traversed  the  flames 
and  made  love  to  Brynhild  as  though  he  were  Gunnar, 
son  of  Giuki.  Brynhild,  though  sore  against  her  will,  was 
obliged  to  fulfil  her  engagement.  For  three  nights  they 
slept  in  the  same  bed,  but  Sigurd  laid  the  sword  Gram 
between  them2.  He  took  Andvarr's  ring  from  her  hand, 
and  gave  her  in  return  one  from  Fafnir's  treasure.  After 

1  Sigurd  gave  her  a  piece  of  Fafnir's  heart  to  eat,  which  rendered  her 
more  obdurate  than  before. 

~  Remains  of  this  custom  are,  it  is  said,  still  to  be  traced  in  some  of  the 
Danish  isles,  South  Jutland,  Holstein  and  Norway.  Such  nights  were 
called  Provensetter,  Probe  naclite,  nights  of  trial  or  proof. 


these  events,  Sigurd  rode  back  to  his  comrades,  and  re 
sumed  his  own  form. 

Brynhild  related  to  her  foster-father,  Heimir,  how  Gim- 
nar  had  ridden  through  the  fire  and  made  love  to  her,  and 
how  certain  she  till  then  had  felt  that  Sigurd  alone,  to 
whom  she  had  vowed  eternal  constancy,  could  have  ac 
complished  the  adventure.  Then  commending  Aslaug,  her 
daughter  by  Sigurd,  to  the  guardianship  of  Heimir,  she 
returned  to  her  father,  Budli,  and  the  celebration  of  her 
marriage  with  Gunnar  lasted  many  days.  Not  until  it  was 
over  did  Sigurd  call  to  memory  the  oaths  he  had  sworn  to 
Brynhild,  but  let  all  pass  off  quietly. 

It  happened  one  day  that  Brynhild  and  Gudrun  went 
to  the  llhine  to  bathe.  On  Brynhild  going  further  out 
in  the  water,  Gudrun  asked  the  cause.  She  answered, 
"  Neither  here  nor  anywhere  else  will  I  stand  by  side  of 
thee.  My  father  was  more  powerful  than  thine,  my  hus 
band  has  performed  greater  feats  than  thine,  and  has 
ridden  through  the  glowing  fire.  Thy  husband  was  king 
Hialprek's  thrall."  Hereupon  Gudrun  gave  her  to  under 
stand  that  it  was  her  husband  that  had  ridden  through  the 
fire,  had  passed  three  nights  with  her,  had  taken  Andvari's 
ring  from  her,  which  she  herself  then  wore.  At  this  in 
telligence  Brynhild  grew  deadly  pale,  and  uttered  not  a 
word.  The  following  day  the  two  queens  began  jarring 
again  about  their  husbands'  superiority,  when  Gudrun  de 
clared  that  what  had  been  sung  of  Sigurd's  victory  over 
the  serpent  was  of  greater  worth  than  all  king  Gunnar's 
realm.  Brynhild  now  went  and  lay  down  as  one  dead. 
When  Gunnar  came  to  her  she  upbraided  him  with  his  and 
his  mother's  deceit,  and  attempted  his  life.  Hogni  caused 
her  to  be  bound,  but  Gunnar  ordered  her  to  be  loosed. 
She  would  engage  in  no  occupation,  but  filled  the  palace 
with  loud  lamentations.  Gudrun  sent  Sigurd  to  her,  to 
whom  she  poured  forth  all  her  grief,  and  said  that  she  hated 


Gunnar,  and  wished  Sigurd  were  murdered.  On  the  lat 
ter  saying  it  had  afflicted  him  that  she  was  not  his  wife, 
and  that  he  would  even  then  marry  her,  she  answered  that 
she  would  rather  die  than  be  faithless  to  Gunnar.  She 
had  sworn  to  marry  the  man  that  should  ride  over  the  fire  : 
that  oath  she  would  keep  sacred  or  die.  Sigurd  said, 
"  Sooner  than  thou  shalt  die  I  will  forsake  Gudrun."  His 
sides  heaved  so  violently  that  his  corselet  burst  asunder. 
"  I  will  neither  have  thee  nor  any  other  man/'  said  Bryn- 
hild ;  and  Sigurd  took  his  departure. 

Brynhild  threatened  to  leave  Gunnar,  if  he  did  not 
murder  Sigurd  and  his  child.  Gunnar  was  bewildered. 
Hogni  dissuaded  him  from  compliance  with  the  will  of 
Brynhild.  At  length  Gunnar  said  there  was  no  alterna 
tive,  as  Sigurd  had  dishonoured  Brynhild1.  They  would, 
therefore,  instigate  their  brother  Guttorm  (who  had  not 
sworn  brotherly  fellowship  with  Sigurd)  to  do  the  deed. 
For  this  purpose  they  gave  him  a  dish  composed  of  wolf's 
and  serpent's  flesh ;  after  which,  being  urged  on  by  Bryn 
hild,  Guttorm  stabbed  Sigurd  while  slumbering2,  but  was 
himself  cut  asunder  by  the  sword  Gram,  which  his  victim 
hurled  after  him.  Gudrun  mourned  over  her  murdered 
consort,  but  Brynhild  laughed  at  her  grief.  Gunnar  and 
Hogni  reproached  her  for  her  malignity,  but  she  set  before 

1  It  would  seem  that  Brynhild  had  feigned  the  story  of  her  own  dis 
honour,  for  the  purpose  of  instigating  the  Giukings  to  murder  Sigurd,  as 
she  is  afterwards  made  to  say,  "  We  slept  together  in  the  same  bed  as  if 
he  had  been  my  own  brother.     Neither  of  us  during  eight  nights  laid  a 
hand  on  the  other."     At  the  same  time,  however,  we  read  that  Brynhild, 
when  on  the  eve  of  her  marriage  with  Gunnar,  committed  Aslaug,  her 
daughter  by  Sigurd,  to  the  care  of  her  foster-father  Heimir.     Aslaug  was 
afterwards  married  to  Ragnar  Lodbrok,  whence  it  seems  not  improbable 
that  the  latter  story  was  invented  for  the  purpose  of  connecting  the  line 
of  Danish  kings  with  Sigurd  and  Brynhild.  See  Edda  Ssem.,  pp.  229,  203. 

2  According  to  other  narratives,  Sigurd  was  murdered  on  his  way  to  the 
public  assembly  (>ing).     According  to  the  German  tradition,  he  was  slain 
in  a  forest.     See  Edda  Saem.,  p.  210. 


them  their  baseness  towards  Sigurd,  and  their  deceit  to- 
wards  herself;  nor  did  she  suffer  herself  to  be  appeased 
by  Gunnar's  caresses,  but  after  having  given  away  her 
gold,  stabbed  herself.  She  now  again  foretold  the  fate  of 
Gudrun,  and  commanded  her  body  to  be  burnt  by  the  side 
of  Sigurd's,  on  the  same  pile,  enclosed  with  hangings  and 
shields,  and  the  sword  Gram  between  them1,  together 
with  those  of  his  three  years'  old  son,  whom  she  herself 
had  murdered,  and  of  Guttorm ;  on  her  other  side,  her 
own  attendants,  two  at  her  head  and  two  at  her  feet,  be 
sides  two  hawks.  She  then  mounted  the  pile. 

Gudrun  mourned  for  the  death  of  Sigurd ;  Grani,  his 
horse,  hung  down  his  head  in  sorrow.  Gudrun  fled  to  the 
forest,  and  came  at  length  to  king  Hialprek  in  Denmark, 
where  with  Thora,  the  daughter  of  Hakon,  she  embroi 
dered  the  exploits  of  heroes2.  After  the  death  of  Sigurd, 
Gunnar  and  Hogni  possessed  themselves  of  his  whole  trea 
sure,  which  was  called  Fafnir's  inheritance.  Enmity  now 
ensued  between  the  Giukings  and  Atli,  who  accused  them 
of  having  caused  the  death  of  his  sister  Brynhild.  As  a 
peace-offering,  it  was  agreed  that  Gudrun  should  be  given 
in  marriage  to  Atli.  Grimhild,  having  discovered  her  re 
treat,  rode  thither,  accompanied  by  her  sons  and  a  nume 
rous  retinue  of  Langobards,  Franks  and  Saxons.  Gudrun 
would  not  listen  to  them.  Grimhild  then  gave  her  an  ob 
livious  potion3,  and  thereby  gained  her  consent  to  a  union 

1  In  the  prose  introduction  to  the  Helreift  Brynhildar,  it  is  said  there 
were  two  piles.     Brynhild's  corpse  was  laid  on  the  pile  in  a  chariot  hung 
with  silken  curtains.     Asuitus,  a  prince  mentioned  by  Saxo  (edit.  Miiller, 
p.  244),  was  buried  with  a  dog  and  a  horse. 

2  Also  Danish  swans,  southern  palaces,  noble  sports,  kings'  retainers, 
red  shields,  Sigmund's  ships  with  gilded  and  sculptured  prows.     Goft. 
Harmr,  Str.  13-16. 

3  "A  drink  cold  and  bitter mingled  with  Urd's  power,  with  chill 
ing  water  and  blood  of  Son.     In  that  horn  were  characters  of  all  kinds 
cut,  red  of  hue,  which  I  could  not  interpret."  Ib.  Str.  21,  22.  Whether  the 


with  Atli,  from  which  she  foreboded  evil.  They  travelled 
durino-  four  days  on  horseback,  but  the  women  were  placed 
in  carriages;  then  four  days  in  a  ship,  and  again  four 
days  by  land,  ere  they  came  to  Atli's  residence,  where  the 
nuptials  were  solemnized  with  great  splendour : 
drun  never  smiled  on  Atli. 

One  night  Atli  dreamed  ill-boding  dreams,  but  i 
interpreted  them  favourably.  It  then  occurred  to  his  re 
membrance  that  the  Giukings  had  kept  possession  of  all 
Si-urd's  gold,  and  he  therefore  sent  Vingi  to  invite  t 
to°a  banquet;  but  Gudrun,  who  had  noticed  what  had 
passed  between  him  and  his  messenger,  cut  runes  and  sent 
them  to  her  brothers,  together  with  a  gold  ring,  in  which 
some  wolf's  hair  was  twined.  Vingi  altered  the  runes  be 
fore  he  stept  on  shore.  He  made  great  promises  to  the 
Giukings,  if  they  would  visit  King  Atli.  Gunnar  had  but 
little  inclination  for  the  journey,  and  Hogni  was  opposed 
to  it ;  but  being  overcome  by  wine  at  the  protracted  feast 
given  to  Vingi,  Gunnar  was  led  to  pledge  himself  to  the 


In  the  mean  time,  Kostbera,  Hogni's  wife,  had  read  the 
runes  sent  by  Gudrun,  and  discovered  that  they  had  been 
falsified.  She  strove  to  dissuade  her  husband  from  the 
journey  and  related  to  him  her  terrific  dreams,  which  he 
interpreted  in  a  contrary  sense.  Glaumvor  also,  Gunnar's 
queen,  dreamed  of  treachery,  but  Gunnar  said  that  no  one 
could  avert  his  destiny.  Though  all  would  dissuade  them, 
they,  nevertheless,  stept  on  board  with  Vingi,  attended  by 
a  few  only  of  their  own  people.  They  rowed  so  lustily 
that  half  the  keel  burst  and  their  oars  were  broken.  They 
then  travelled  a  while  through  a  gloomy  forest,  where  they 
saw  a  powerful  army,  notwithstanding  which  they  opened 

norn  Urd  is  here  alluded  to  is  extremely  doubtful,  and  almost  equally  so 
is  the  allusion  to  Son,  though  the  vessel  containing  the  skaldic  or  poetic 
mead  may  be  intended,  for  which  see  p.  40. 


the  gate  of  the  fastness  and  rode  in.  Vingi  now  gave  them 
to  understand  that  they  had  been  beguiled,  whereupon 
they  slew  him  with  their  maces. 

King  Atli  now  commanded  his  people  to  seize  them  in 
the  hall.     On  hearing  the  clash  of  arms,  Gudrun  cast  her 
mantle  aside,  entered  the  hall,  and  having  embraced  her 
brothers,  endeavoured  to  mediate,  but  in  vain.     She  then 
put  on  a  corselet,  took  a  sword,  and  shared  in  the  conflict 
like  the  stoutest  champion.     The  battle  lasted  long,  Atli 
lost  many  of  his  warriors.     At  length,  the  two  brothers 
alone  survived  of  their  whole  party  :  they  were  overpowered 
and  bound.    Atli  commanded  Hognr's  heart  to  be  cut  out, 
though  his  counsellors  would  have  taken  that  of  the  thrall 
Hialli ;  but  as  he  cried  out  when  they  were  about  to  lay 
hands  on  him,  Hogni  said  it  was  a  game  he  recked  little 
of,  so  the  thrall  for  the  moment  escaped.     Gunnar  and 
Hogni  were  set  in  chains.    It  was  Atli's  wish  that  Gunnar 
should  save  his  life  by  disclosing  where  the  gold  was  de 
posited;  but  he  answered,  "  Sooner  would  I  see  my  bro 
ther  Hognr's  bloody  heart."     They  then  again  seized  on 
the  thrall,  cut  out  his  heart,  and  laid  it  before  Gunnar. 
;c  This,"  said  he,  « is  the  heart  of  a  coward,  unlike  the 
brave  Hognr's ;  for  even  now  it  trembles,  though  less  by 
half  than  when  in  its  owner's  breast."    They  then  cut  out 
the  heart  of  Hogni,  who  laughed  under  the  process.     On 
seeing  that  it  did  not  tremble,  Gunnar  recognised  it  for 
Hogni' s,  and  said  that  now  he  alone  knew  where  the  gold 
was  hidden,  and  that  the  Rhine  should  possess  it  rather 
than  his  enemies  wear  it  on  their  fingers.     Gunnar  was 
then  confined,  with  his  hands  bound,  in  a  yard  filled  with 
serpents.     Gudrun  sent  him  a  harp,  which  he  played  with 
his  feet,  so  that  all  the  serpents  were  lulled  to  sleep  save 
one  viper,  which  fixed  itself  on  him  and  stung  him  to  the 

1  This  was  Atli's  mother  so  transformed.   See  Oddrunar  Gratr,  Str.  30. 

F  5 


Elated  with  his  victory,  Atli  scoffed  at  Gudrun ;  but  on 
perceiving  her  exasperation,  he  sought  to  appease  her. 
She  removed  his  doubts  and  suspicions  by  her  assumed 
gentleness,  and  a  sumptuous  grave-ale1  was  ordered  in 
memory  of  the  fallen.  Gudrun  now  took  her  two  young 
sons,  who  were  at  play,  and  cut  their  throats.  "When  Ath 
inquired  for  his  children,  she  answered  that  their  skulls, 
set  in  gold  and  silver,  had  been  turned  into  drinking  cups, 
that  in  his  wine  he  had  drunk  their  blood,  and  eaten  then- 
hearts  in  his  food.  Hogni's  son,  Niflung,  thirsting  to 
avenge  his  father,  consulted  with  Gudrun ;  and  when  Atli, 
after  his  repast,  lay  down  to  sleep,  they  slew  him2.  Gud 
run  then  caused  the  palace  to  be  surrounded  with  fire,  and 
burnt  all  Atli's  people. 

Gudrun  then  plunged  into  the  sea,  but  the  waves  bore 
her  to  land,  and  she  came  to  the  city  of  the  great  king 
Jonakur,  who  married  her,  and  had  by  her  three  sons, 
Hamdir  (Ham)>ir),  Sorli,  and  Erp  (Erpr).  Svanhild, 
Gudrun' s  daughter  by  Sigurd,  was  also  bred  up  there. 
The  mighty  king  Jormunrek,  having  heard  of  SvanhihVs 
beauty,  sent  his  son  Randve,  together  with  his  counsellor 
Biki,  to  woo  her  for  him.  She  was  married  to  him  against 

1  Old  Norse  Erfiol,  Dan.  Arve-61,  Welsh  Aruyl.    A  funeral  feast  held 
in  honour  of  the  dead  by  the  heir  (0.  N.  arfr,  Ger.  Erbe).    It  was  believed 
that  the  dead  were  present  at  their  grave-ale.     In  the  Eyrbyggiasaga  a 
story  connected  with  this  superstition  will  be  found,  which  being  too  long 
for  insertion  here,  the  reader  is  referred  to  Sir  Walter  Scott's  extract  in 
the  '  Illustrations  of  Northern  Antiquities,'  p.  507,  and  in  Bohn's  edition 
of  Mallet's  '  Northern  Antiquities,'  p.  536. 

2  See  the  account  of  Atli's  death  and  funeral  in  Jornandes,  ch  xxv.  The 
relation  here  given  accords  in  some  measure  with  what  we  find  in  the 
Byzantine  writers,  viz.  Marcellinus  Comes  writes,  Attilam  noctu  mulieris 
manu  cultroque  confossum.     According  to  others,  nimio  vino  et  somno 
gravatus,  et  copioso  sanguinis  profluvio  obundatus,  inventus  est  mortuus  in 
lecto,  acculans  mulieri,  qua  de  ejus  nece  suspecfa  Tiabita  est.   John  Malala 
says  that  a  certain  armour-bearer  slew  Attila.   See  Edda  Samundar,  edit. 
Copenhagen,  ii.  954. 


the  will  of  Gudrun.  As  they  were  sailing  home,  Biki 
instigated  Randve  to  speak  in  terms  of  tenderness  to 
Svanhild,  saying  it  was  more  suitable  for  a  young  man 
than  for  the  old  king  to  possess  so  fair  a  maiden.  After 
their  arrival  Biki  told  the  king  that  Svanhild  was  Rand, 
ve's  mistress;  whereupon  the  king  ordered  Randve  to 
be  hanged.  When  led  to  the  gallows  he  plucked  some 
feathers  from  a  hawk  and  sent  them  to  his  father,  who 
understanding  them  to  signify  that  he  had  parted  with 
his  honour,  commanded  his  son  to  be  taken  down ;  but 
Biki  had  so  contrived  that  he  was  already  dead.  At  Biki's 
instigation,  Svanhild  was  also  condemned  to  an  ignomini 
ous  death.  She  was  placed  bound  at  the  city  gate,  to  be 
trampled  to  death  by  horses.  When  she  turned  her  eyes 
on  them,  they  refused  to  tread  on  her;  but  Biki  caused  a 
sack  to  be  drawn  over  her  head,  and  thus  terminated  her 

Gudrun  urged  her  sons,  Sorli  and  Hamdir,  to  avenge 
their  sister,  and  poured  forth  loud  lamentations  over  her 
unhappy  fate.  The  sons  departed  cased  in  mail  that  no 
steel  could  penetrate,  but  their  mother  warned  them  to 
beware  of  stone.  On  the  way  they  met  their  brother 
Erp,  whom  they  asked  what  help  he  would  afford  ?  He 
answered,  he  would  so  help  them  as  the  hand  helps  the 
hand  and  the  foot  the  foot.  At  this  they  were  dissatisfied 

1  According  to  Saxo  (edit.  Miiller,  414),  Jarmericus  was  a  king  of  Den- 
mark  and  Sweden.  His  story  differs  widely  from  that  in  the  Eddas  and 
Volsunga  Saga.  Of  Svanhild  (whom  he  calls  Swavilda)  he  says,  "  Hanc 
taritae  fuisse  pulchritudinis  fama  est,  ut  ipsis  quoque  jumentis  horrori  foret 
artus  eximio  decore  praeditos  sordidis  lacerare  vestigiis.  Quo  argumento 
rex  innocentiam  conjugis  declarari  conjectans,  accedente  erroris  pcenitentia, 
falso  notatam  festinat  absolvere.  Advolat  interea  Bicco,  qui  supinam 
jumenta  diris  deturbare  carminibus  nee  nisi  pronam  obteri  posse  firmaret. 
Quippe  earn  formae  suae  beneficio  servatam  sciebat.  In  hunc  modum  col- 
locatum  reginae  corpus  adactus  jumentorum  grex  crebris  alte  vestigiis  fodit. 
Hie  Swavildae  exitus  fuit." 


and  slew  him.  Shortly  after  Hamdir  stumbled,  and,  sup 
porting  himself  by  his  hand,  exclaimed,  "Erp  said  truly; 
I  should  have  fallen,  had  I  not  supported  myself  by  my 
hand/'  They  had  proceeded  but  a  few  steps  further  when 
Sorli  stumbled  with  one  foot ;  "  I  should  have  fallen,"  said 
he,  "had  I  not  stood  on  both/'  When  they  came  to 
Jormunrek  they  immediately  assailed  him.  Hamdir  cut 
off  his  hands,  Sorli  his  feet.  Hamdir  said,  "  His  head 
would  also  have  been  smitten  off,  had  Erp  been  with  us/' 
Against  Joramnrek's  men,  who  now  attacked  them,  they 
fought  valiantly,  their  armour  being  impenetrable  to  steel, 
until  an  old  man  with  one  eye  came  and  counselled  the 
men  to  stone  them,  and  thus  caused  their  destruction1. 

Or  RAGNAR  AND  TnoiiA2. — Wide-spread  over  all  the 
North  was  the  story  of  Jarl  Heraud  of  Gothland's  youthful 
daughter,  Thora,  though  more  generally  known  by  the 
appellation  of  '  Borgar-hjort '  (the  Hind  of  the  Castle), 
which  was  bestowed  on  her  because,  unlike  the  bold  Ama 
zons  (shield-maidens)  of  that  age,  she  rather  resembled  a 
tender,  timid  hind ;  and  being  at  the  same  time  exquisitely 
fair  and  amiable,  her  father  placed  her  in  a  strong  castle, 
instead  of  a  maiden-bower.  By  some  it  is  related  that 
her  castle  was  guarded  by  a  warrior  named  Orm,  but  ac 
cording  to  the  Saga :  "  Heraud  once  gave  his  daughter  a 
dragon  in  a  little  box,  in  which  it  lay  coiled  up,  and  under 
it  placed  gold.  The  serpent  grew,  and  with  it  the  gold, 
so  that  it  was  found  necessary  to  remove  it  out  of  the 
castle.  At  length  it  became  a  formidable  monster,  en 
circling  the  whole  castle,  so  that  no  one  could  enter  save 
such  as  gave  it  food."  Hereupon  the  jarl  held  a  council, 

1  In  the  battle  of  Bravalla,  the  Danish  king,  Harald  Hildetan,  is  said  to 
have  heen  slain  by  Odin,  under  the  form  of  Harald's  own  general.  See 
Grater's  Suhrn,  ii.  284 ;  Saxo,  p.  390. 

-  Not  having  either  Ragnar  Lodbrok's  Saga  or  the  Volsunga-Saga  at 
command,  the  editor  has  taken  these  traditions  from  Afzelius'  Sago-Hafder 
and  Muller's  Sagabibliothek. 


and  promised  that  whosoever  should  slay  the  monster 
should  have  his  daughter  to  wife.  Ragnar,  son  of  king 
Sigurd  of  Sweden,,  who  won  the  famous  battle  of  Bravalla, 
having  heard  of  this,  caused  five  woollen  cloaks  and  hose 
to  be  made,  and  boiled  in  pitch1.  He  then  encountered 
the  dragon,  or,  as  it  is  also  related,  the  bear,  that  guarded 
fair  Borgar-hjort's  dwelling,  which  after  much  peril  and 
fatigue  he  overcame.  Lodbrok  left  his  spear  sticking  in 
the  dragon's  back,  but  took  the  shaft  in  his  hand,  with 
which  he  went  up  to  the  castle,  to  the  beautiful  Thora, 
whom  he  thus  addressed  : — 

My  youthful  life  I  've  ventured, 
My  age  of  fifteen  years ; 
The  hateful  worm  I  Ve  slaughter'd 
For  thee,  thou  beauteous  maid. 

He  then  went  before  the  jarl,  and  demanded  the  fulfil 
ment  of  his  promise,  proving  himself  the  liberator  of  his 
daughter  by  the  shaft,  which  he  held  in  his  hand,  belong 
ing  to  the  spear  remaining  in  the  dragon's  body.  It  now 
appeared  that  he  was  the  young  King  Ragnar,  son  of 
Sigurd.  Their  marriage  was  solemnized  in  a  manner 
befitting  their  rank.  By  his  wife,  Thora  Borgar-hjort, 
Ragnar  had  two  sons,  Eric  andAgnar;  but  he  did  not 
long  enjoy  his  happiness :  Thora  died,  and  Ragnar,  lea 
ving  his  states  under  the  government  of  his  sons  and  cer 
tain  wise  men,  again  betook  himself  to  a  roving  life  on  the 
ocean,  that  in  the  society  of  his  vikings  he  might  drown 
or  mitigate  his  sorrow  for  the  loss  of  one  whom  he  had  so 
tenderly  loved. 

OF  RAGNAR  AND  ASLAUG. — When  Heimir  of  Hlindal2 
was  informed  of  the  death  of  Sigurd  and  Brynhild,  and  that 

1  His  garb  was  singular,  and  gave  him  a  ferocious  appearance :  from  his 
sailor's  breeches,  made  of  wild  beasts'  skins,  he  acquired  the  surname  of 
Lodbrok,  from  lod  (shayginess),  and  brok  (breeches). 

2  See  p.  98. 


it  was  intended  to  destroy  their  daughter,  who  had  been 
reared  by  him,  he  caused  a  large  harp  to  be  made,  in 
which  he  concealed  the  child  together  with  many  jewels, 
and  wandered  forth  towards  the  north.  He  gave  her  an 
onion  to  taste,  which  has  the  property  of  sustaining  life 
for  a  considerable  time.  Heimir  is  described  as  of  a  gi 
gantic,  majestic  figure,  though  his  garments  but  ill  ac 
corded  with  his  mien,  being  those  of  a  beggar  or  beads 
man,  while  his  manners  and  the  melodious  tones  of  his 
harp  proved  him  to  be  something  widely  different.  When 
ever  he  came  to  a  lonely  spot  in  wood  or  field,  he  would 
take  the  child  out  to  divert  itself;  but  if  it  cried  within 
the  harp,  when  he  was  in  the  company  of  others,  or  in  any 
house,  he  would  play  and  sing,  until  the  little  one  was 
appeased  and  silent. 

Heimir  with  his  harp  came  late  one  evening  to  a  little, 
lonely  dwelling  in  Norway,  called  Spangarhede1,  in  which 
lived  an  old  man  named  Aki  and  his  wife  Grima.  The 
crone  was  sitting  alone,  and  could  hardly  be  induced  to 
kindle  a  fire  on  the  hearth,  that  Heimir  might  warm  him 
self.  Her  eyes  were  constantly  fixed  on  the  harp,  in  con 
sequence  of  a  piece  of  a  costly  garment  that  protruded 
from  it ;  but  her  suspicion  rose  still  higher  when,  from 
under  the  fringes  of  the  harper's  coat,  she  observed,  when 
he  stretched  out  his  arms  towards  the  fire,  a  bright,  gold 
armlet.  Heimir  was  then  shown  to  a  chamber,  where, 
wearied  with  his  journey,  he  soon  fell  into  a  profound 
sleep.  At  night  the  peasant  returned.  Wearied  with  the 
toils  of  the  day,  he  was  displeased  at  not  finding  his  sup 
per  ready,  and  bitterly  complained  of  the  poor  man's  lot. 
Hereupon  the  old  woman  said  to  him  that  in  that  very 

1  A  tongue  of  land  near  Lindesnaes,  where  the  names  still  exist  of  Krake- 
baek  and  Guldvig,  which,  as  the  people  say,  are  so  called  after  the  king's 
daughter  that  was  concealed  in  a  golden  harp.  Krakuraal,  edit.  Rafn, 
Forord,  p.  1. 


moment  he  might  better  his  condition  for  the  rest  of  his 
life,,  if  he  would  murder  the  stranger,  who,  as  she  had 
seen,  had  much  gold  and  many  precious  things  in  his 
harp.  At  first  the  old  man  shrank  from  the  perpetration 
of  so  base  a  deed,  but  was  finally  induced  to  murder 
Heimir  in  his  sleep.  When  on  opening  the  harp  the  little 
Aslaug  came  forth,  they  were  terrified  arid  would  no  doubt 
have  murdered  her,  had  not  her  prepossessing  countenance 
awakened  their  conscience ;  but  to  prevent  suspicion,  they 
clothed  her,  as  if  she  had  been  their  own,  in  coarse  gar 
ments,  and  called  her  Kraka.  Years  rolled  on,  and  Kraka 
grew  up  and  was  distinguished  for  her  understanding  and 
beauty.  The  greater  part  of  her  time  was  passed  in  the 
woods,  where  she  tended  her  foster-father's  cattle.  Of  her 
descent  she  retained  a  lively  remembrance  from  what  at 
various  times  had  been  told  her  by  Heimir ;  though  with 
her  foster-parents  she  pretended  to  be  dumb,  never  utter 
ing  a  syllable. 

One  evening  Ragnar  entered  the  port  near  Spangarhede, 
and  sent  some  of  his  crew  on  shore  to  bake  bread.  When 
they  came  back,  it  was  found  that  the  bread  was  burnt 
and  spoiled.  They  excused  themselves  to  the  king  by 
saying  that  they  had  been  quite  bewildered  by  a  country 
lass,  named  Kraka,  who  was  so  beautiful  that  they  could 
not  turn  their  eyes  away  from  her :  they  thought,  indeed, 
that  she  was  quite  as  fair  as  Thora  Borgar-hjort.  They 
further  related  much  of  her  excellent  understanding  and 
wit.  Ragnar  was  now  desirous  of  testing  these  accounts, 
and  sent  an  order  that  Kraka  should  come  to  him  in  his 
ship,  but  not  alone,  nor  yet  in  company  with  any  one ; 
not  clad,  yet  not  without  clothing ;  not  fasting,  nor  yet 
without  having  eaten.  All  this  she  accomplished,  though 
not  until  she  had  received  the  king's  assurance  of  a  safe- 
conduct  both  coming  and  going.  She  came  clad  in  a  net, 
with  her  thick,  flowing  hair  spread  over  her  like  a  mantle ; 


she  was  attended  only  by  a  dog,  and  had  tasted  an  onion, 
but  eaten  nothing.  The  king  was  no  less  astonished  at 
her  wit  and  understanding  than  at  her  beauty.  He  pre 
ferred  a  prayer  to  Odin,  that  she  might  be  inspired  with 
such  love  for  him  as  at  once  to  yield  to  his  wishes.  But 
Kraka  prized  her  honour  too  highly  and  spurned  his  suit. 
He  tried  to  prevail  on  her  with  the  gift  of  an  embroidered 
kirtle  that  had  belonged  to  his  deceased  queen,  saying : — 

Art  thou  skill' d  in  such  ? 

Wilt  thou  accept 

This  kirtle  silver- wrought  ? 

Well  would  become  thee 

The  garment  once 

Own'd  by  fair  Borgar-hjort. 

Her  lily  hands 

Wove  the  curious  texture. 

To  me,  chief  of  heroes, 

Faithful  she  was  till  death. 

Kraka  answered : — 

I  may  not  take 

The  kirtle  silver-wrought, 

Which  Borgar-hjort  once  own'd. 

I  am  call'd  Kraka, 

Coal-black  in  vadmel1  j 

For  I  must  ever  traverse  stones 

And  tend  the  goats 

On  the  sea-shore. 

Astonished  at  what  he  heard  and  saw,  the  king  would 
now,  by  promises  of  marriage,  persuade  her  to  stay  the 
night  with  him;  but  as  she  was  inexorable,  he  was  too 
honourable  to  break  the  promise  he  had  given  her.  Finally, 
however,  Kraka  agreed  that  if  the  king  should  return  in 
the  same  frame  of  mind  of  making  her  his  queen,  she 
would  be  ready  to  accompany  him.  After  some  time  the 
king  returned,  when  Kraka,  bidding  her  foster-parents 

1  A  coarse  woollen  stuff  made  in  Norway  and  Iceland. 


farewell,  accompanied  him  to  his  castle,  where  their  mar 
riage  was  solemnized  with  all  royal  pomp. 

It  once  happened  that  Ragnar  visited  his  friend,  King 
Osten,  at  Upsala.  In  the  evening  Osten' s  young  daughter 
went  I'ound  the  hall  presenting  mead  and  wine  to  Ragnar 
and  his  men.  The  king  was  smitten  with  the  beauty  of 
the  young  princess,  and  his  followers  represented  to  him 
how  much  more  befitting  it  would  be  for  him  to  possess 
the  fair  daughter  of  a  royal  house  than  Kraka,  the  daughter 
of  a  peasant.  It  was  then  agreed  on  by  both  kings  that 
Ragnar  should  return  home,  dismiss  Kraka,  and  come 
back  and  marry  the  daughter  of  Osten.  When  this  came 
to  the  knowledge  of  Kraka,  she  disclosed  to  the  king  her 
real  name  of  Aslaug,  and  that  she  was  the  daughter  of 
King  Sigurd  and  Brynhild,  and  the  last  descendant  of  the 
renowned  race  of  the  Volsungs ;  how  that  Heimir,  after 
the  mournful  fate  of  her  parents,  had  fled  with  her  from 
their  enemies  and  concealed  her  in  his  harp,  until  he  was 
murdered  by  Aki  at  Spangarhede,  from  which  time  she 
had  borne  the  name  of  Kraka.  Awakened  from  his  dream 
by  this  narrative,  and  touched  by  her  proved  affection, 
Ragnar  returned  no  more  to  Upsala.  All  friendship  with 
King  Osten  was  now  at  an  end,  and  from  that  time  Aslaug 
became  fierce  and  vindictive,  like  all  of  her  race. 

— DRAUG. — THE  FYLGIA  was  a  tutelar  angel  or  attendant 
spirit  attached  either  to  a  single  individual  or  to  a  whole 
race.  To  a  person  at  the  point  of  death  the  Fylgia  be 
came  visible.  "  Thou  must  be  a  fated  (moribundus)  man, 
thou  must  have  seen  thy  Fylgia,"  said  an  Icelander  to  one 
labouring  under  an  optical  delusion  ] .  The  Fylgia  some 
times  appeared  to  another  person.  Hedin,  we  read,  re 
turning  home  one  Yule  eve,  met  in  the  forest  a  Troll -wife 
riding  on  a  wolf,  with  a  rein  formed  of  serpents,  who 

1  Nial's  Saga,  41. 


offered  to  bear  him  company.  On  relating  the  incident 
to  his  brother  Helgi,  the  latter  foresaw  his  own  approach 
ing  end,  for  he  knew  that  it  was  his  Fylgia  that  had  ac 
costed  his  brother,  under  the  form  of  a  woman  on  a  wolf. 
When  a  person  was  dead  or  near  death,  his  Fylgia  was 
desirous  to  follow  his  nearest  relative,  or  one  of  the  family. 
When  a  person's  own  Fylgia  appeared  to  him  bloody,  it 
betokened  a  violent  death  l. 

Identical  apparently  with  the  Fylgia  are  the  HAM 
(HAMR,  INDUVIJE)  and  the  HAMINGIA.  In  the  Atlamal2, 
Kostbera  dreams  that  she  saw  the  Ham  or  genius  of  Atli 
enter  the  house  under  an  eagle's  form,  and  sprinkle  them 
all  with  blood.  In  the  VafJ?rudnismal  and  Vegtams-qutya  3, 
the  Hammgior  are  identical  with  the  Norns. 

Connected  with  the  foregoing  is  our  own  superstition 
about  a  child's  caul.  In  Germany,  children  born  with 
this  membrane  are  regarded  as  fortunate  4,  and  the  mem 
brane  itself  is  carefully  preserved,  or  sewed  in  a  girdle  for 
the  child  to  wear.  Among  the  Icelanders  this  caul  also 
bears  the  name  of  fylgia ;  they  fancy  that  the  guardian 
angel,  or  a  part  of  the  infant's  soul  dwells  in  it :  the  mid- 
wives,  consequently,  are  careful  not  to  injure  it,  but  bury 
it  under  the  threshold,  over  which  the  mother  must  walk. 
Whoever  throws  it  away,  or  burns  it,  deprives  the  child  of 
its  guardian  angel.  Such  a  guardian  is  called  Fylgia,  be 
cause  it  is  supposed  to  follow  the  individual ;  it  is  also 
called  FORYNIA,  from  being  likewise  regarded  as  a  fore 
runner  5. 

Traditions  of,  and  a  belief  in,  beings,  of  which  every 
person  has  one  as  an  attendant,  are  universal  over  the 
greatest  part  of  Norway,  though  the  name  and  the  idea 

1  Keyser,  p,  157.  2  Str.  20.  3  str.  48,  49;  Str.  17. 

4  See  the  story  of  the  Deyil  with  the  three  Golden  Hairs,  in  the  Kinder 
und  Hausniarchen,  No.  29. 

5  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  828. 


vary  in  different  localities.  In  some  places  it  is  called  FOL 
or  VARDOIEL,  and  sometimes  HAM  or  HAU. 

In  some  districts  the  Vardogl  is  regarded  as  a  good 
spirit,  that  always  accompanies  a  person,  and  wards  off 
from  him  all  dangers  and  mishaps ;  for  which  reason 
people  are  scrupulous  about  following  a  person  out,  or 
looking  after  him,  or  closing  the  door  as  soon  as  he  is 
gone,  lest  they  should  prevent  the  Vardogl  from  following 
its  master,  who,  in  its  absence,  is  exposed  to  mischances 
and  temptations,  and  even  to  the  risk  of  falling  into  the 
clutches  of  an  evil  spirit  called  the  Thusbet,  which  also 
follows  every  mortal. 

In  other  places,  the  Folgie  or  Vardogl  is  looked  upon 
rather  as  a  warning  attendant,  who  by  knocking  at  the 
door  or  window,  tapping  on  the  wall,  rattling  the  latch, 
etc.,  gives  notice  of  the  coming  of  an  acquaintance,  or  that 
one  is  longing  to  come,  or  that  a  misfortune  or  a  death  l 
is  at  hand.  When  the  Folgie  shows  itself,  it  is  generally 
in  the  form  of  an  animal,  whose  qualities  bear  a  resem 
blance  to  those  of  the  individual.  The  dauntless  has,  there 
fore,  for  Folgie  a  bold  animal,  as  a  wolf,  a  bear,  an  eagle, 
etc. ;  the  crafty,  a  fox,  or  a  cat ;  the  timid,  a  hare,  or  the 
like.  The  Vardogl  will  sometimes  appear  under  a  human 
form  resembling  its  master,  but  immediately  vanishes; 
whence  it  is  that  the  same  person  is  seen  at  the  same  time 
in  two  places.  One  of  these  forms  is  the  Folgie,  which 
will  sometimes  also  appear  to  the  individual  himself,  who, 
in  that  case,  is  said  to  see  his  own  double  2.  A  still  more 
extraordinary  case  is  that  of  a  lad  who  tumbled  over  his 
own  Fylgia.  In  Fornmanna  Sogur  (3.  113)  we  are  told 

1  Hallager,  Norsk  Ordsamling,  p.  141. 

2  The  Icelander  Thidrandi  saw  nine  women  clad  in  black,  come  riding 
from  the  north,  and  nine  others,  in  light  garments,  from  the  south.   They 
were  the  Fylgiur  of  his  kindred. 


that  when  Thorsten  Oxefod  was  yet  a  child  of  seven  years, 
he  once  came  running  into  the  room  and  fell  on  the  floor ; 
whereat  the  wise  old  man  Geiter  burst  into  a  laugh.  On 
the  boy  asking  what  he  saw  so  laughable  in  his  fall,  he 
said,  "  I  saw  what  you  did  not  see.  When  you  came  into 
the  room,  a  young  white  bear's  cub  followed  you  and  ran 
before  you,  but  on  catching  sight  of  me,  he  stopt,  and  as 
you  came  running  you  fell  over  him."  This  was  Thor- 
sten's  own  Fylgia. 

If  a  person  is  desirous  of  knowing  what  animal  he  has 
for  a  Vardogl,  he  has  only  to  wrap  a  knife  in  a  napkin, 
with  certain  ceremonies,  and  to  hold  it  up  while  he  names 
all  the  animals  he  knows  of.  As  soon  as  he  has  named 
his  Folgie,  the  knife  will  fall  out  of  the  napkin. 

Our  old  divines  assumed,  in  like  manner,  that  every 
person  has  an  attendant  or  guardian  genius.  In  the  Jern- 
postil  (edit.  1513,  p.  142)  it  is  said :  "  The  moment  any 
man  is  born  in  the  world,  our  Lord  sends  an  angel  to  pre 
serve  his  soul  from  the  devil,  and  from  all  other  evil ; " 
appealing,  for  support  of  the  proposition,  to  the  testimony 
of  St.  Jerome  and  St.  Bernard1. 

Dis  (pi.  DisiR)  is  a  generic  name  for  all  female,  mythic 
beings,  though  usually  applied  to  a  man's  attendant  spirit 
or  Folgie.  Of  these  some  are  friendly,  others  hostile. 
The  tutelar  or  friendly  Disir  are  likewise  called  Spadisir, 
i.  e.  prophetic  Disir :  Scotice  spae,  as  in  spae-wife,  a  pro 
phetess,  fortune-teller.  In  Norway  the  Disir  appear  to  have 
been  held  in  great  veneration.  In  the  Sagas  frequent 
mention  occurs  of  Disa  blot,  or  offerings  to  the  Disir.  A 
part  of  their  temples  was  denominated  the  Disa-sal  (Disar- 

V.ZETT  (V^ETTR,  pi.  V^TTIR)  in  its  original  signification 
is  neither  more  nor  less  than  thing,  being,  wight,  though  in 
Scandinavia  (particularly  Norway  and  Iceland)  it  is  used 
1  Faye,  p.  76  sqg.  2  Keyser,  p.  74. 


to  signify  a  sort  of  female  tutelary  genius  of  a  country, 
and  then  is  called  a  LAND-V^ETT.  In  the  Gulathing's 
law  it  is  enjoined  that  "  omni  diligentia  perquirant  rex  et 
episcopus  ne  exerceantur  errores  et  superstitio  ethnica,  uti 
sunt  incantationes  et  artes  magicse  ....  si  in  Landvsettas 
(genios  locorum)  credunt  quod  tumulos  aut  cataractas  in- 
habitent,"  etc.1  The  Landvsett  assumes  various  forms. 
Hallager  describes  the  Vsett  as  a  Troll  or  Nisse  inhabit 
ing  mounds,  which  for  that  reason  are  called  V^ETTE- 
HOUER.  '  He  resembles  a  young  boy  in  grey  clothes  with 
a  black  hat2.  The  word  is,  nevertheless,  feminine.  In 
Ulfliot's  law  it  was  ordered  that  the  head  of  every  ship 
should  be  taken  off  before  it  came  in  sight  of  land,  and 
that  it  should  not  sail  near  the  land  with  gaping  head  and 
yawning  beak,  so  as  to  frighten  the  Land-vsettir  3. 

DRAUG  (DRAUGR),  a  spectre.  Odin  is  called  Drauga 
Drott4  (lord  of  spectres)  because  he  could  raise  the  dead 
from  their  graves  (as  in  the  Vegtams  KvrSa).  The  appa 
rition  to  a  person  of  his  Draug  forebodes  his  death.  In 
the  Hervarar  Saga5,  Draugar  are  spoken  of  as  lying  with 
the  dead  in  their  mounds.  The  Draug  follows  the  person 
doomed  whithersoever  he  goes,  often  as  an  insect,  which 
in  the  evening  sends  forth  a  piping  sound.  He  sometimes 
appears  clad  as  a  fisherman.  Both  the  appearance  of  the 
Draug  himself,  as  well  as  of  his  spittle  (a  sort  of  froth  that 
is  sometimes  seen  in  boats)  are  omens  of  approaching 

1  Lex.  Myth.  p.  833.  2  Norsk  Ordsamling,  p.  145. 

3  Fornmanna  Sogur,  p.  105.         «  Yngl.  Saga,  7.        5  Edit.  Suhra,  p.  64. 




THE  foregoing  comprises  what  is  most  essential  of  the 
contents  of  the  Eddas.  On  turning  to  the  later  inter 
pretations  of  these  dark  runes  of  the  times  of  old,  we  meet 
with  so  many  mutually  contradicting  illustrations,  that  it 
is  hardly  possible  to  extract  anything  like  unity  amid  so 
much  conflicting  matter.  The  obscure  language  in  which 
the  mythology  of  the  North  is  expressed,  the  images  of 
which  it  is  full,  the  darkness  in  which  the  first  mental  de 
velopment  of  every  people  is  shrouded,  and  the  difficulty 
of  rendering  clear  the  connection  between  their  religious 
ideas — all  this  leads  every  attempt  at  illustration  some 
times  in  one  and  sometimes  in  another  direction,  each  of 
which  IIL  .,,  moreover,  several  by-ways  and  many  wrong 

With  regard  to  the  importance  and  value  of  the  Northern 
mythology,  we  meet  with  two  widely  different  opinions. 
Some  have  considered  the  old  Eddaic  songs  and  traditions 
as  mere  fabrications,  composed  for  pastime  by  ignorant 
monks  in  the  middle  age ;  while  others  have  pronounced 
them  not  only  ancient,  but  have  regarded  their  matter  as 
so  exalted,  that  even  ideas  of  Christianity  are  reflected  in 
them.  That  Christ,  for  instance,  is  figuratively  delineated 
in  Thor,  who  crushes  the  head  of  the  serpent ;  so  that  the 
Eddaic  lore  is  an  obscure  sort  of  revelation  before  Revela 
tion.  The  first-mentioned  of  these  opinions,  though  it 
may  have  blazed  up  for  a  moment,  may  be  now  regarded 
as  totally  and  for  ever  extinguished ;  for  every  one  who 
reads  the  Eddas  will  at  once  perceive  that  the  concord 
which  exists  between  their  several  parts,  notwithstanding 
that  they  are  but  fragments,  the  grandeur  and  poetic 
beauty,  of  which  they  in  so  many  instances  bear  the  im 
press,  together  with  the  old  tongue  in  which  the  songs  are 


composed,   could  not  have   been   produced   by  ignorant 

The  second  opinion  can  only  have  arisen  out  of  a  blind 
predilection  for  antiquity  ;  for  when  we  abstract  the  reli 
gious  element  which  is  common  to  all  religions,  and  the 
descriptions  of  the  destruction  of  the  world,  which  are 
spread  over  the  whole  globe,  we  find  in  the  Northern  my 
thology  not  one  trace  of  that  which  constitutes  the  essen 
tial  in  Christianity ;  and  the  accidental  resemblance  va 
nishes  on  every  closer  consideration.     The  old  religion  of 
the  inhabitants  of  the  North  is  in  fact  neither  a  collection 
of  absurdities  and  insipid  falsehoods,  nor  a  fountain  of 
exalted  wisdom ;  but  is  the  ideas  of  an  uncultivated  people, 
with  reference  to  the  relation  between  the  divine  and  the 
worldly,  expressed  in  images  intelligible  to  the  infant  un 
derstanding.     The  present  time  must  not  expect  to  find  in 
it  either  a  revelation  of  new  ideas,  or  a  guide  to  the  way  of 
happiness ;  even  the  poet  of  the  present  will  fail  to  discover 
m  it  a  source  of  inspiration,  except  in  so  far  as  it  may 
supply  him  with  a  fitting  dress  for  his  own  poetic  images. 
In  fact,  the  Eddaic  lore  is  important,  chiefly  because  it 
sheds  light  on  the  study  of  antiquity,  on  the  development 
of  the  human  mind  in  general,  and  of  that  of  our  fore 
fathers  in  particular. 

With  respect  to  the  interpretation  itself,  the  expounders 
of  the  Eddas  are  divided  into  two  sects  :  one  will  impart 
to  us  an  illustration  of  what  the  ancients  themselves 
thought  of  these  myths,  the  other  will  show  what  may  be 
thought  of  them.  The  first  will  seize  the  sense  of  a  given 
poem,  the  second  will  try  to  discover  what  may  further 
be  imagined  from  it.  The  latter  we  shall  at  once  dismiss ; 
for  however  beautiful  and  elevating  their  interpretations 
may  be,  and  however  much  poetic  application  may  be 
made  of  them,  they  will,  nevertheless,  not  conduct  us  to, 
but  from,  antiquity,  while  it  is  precisely  that  which  we 


wish,  as  much  as  possible,  to  become  acquainted  with  in 
its  whole  purity.  When  these  myths  are,  for  example, 
considered  not  only  with  relation  to  the  history  of  the 
North,  but  as  universally  historical ;  when  we,  therefore, 
in  the  Northern  mythology  find  figurative  indications  of 
the  great  epochs  in  the  history  of  the  world ;  and  in  the 
several  myths  of  nations  particular  manifestations  of  their 
fortunes  in  the  course  of  time,  it  is  clear  that  this  is  not 
truth  but  fiction.  Though  such  notions  of  the  Eddaic 
lore  may  have  in  themselves  poetic  value,  though  they  may, 
in  an  agreeable  manner,  set  the  imagination  in  activity  and 
give  it  a  store  of  new  images,  yet  will  the  understanding 
not  allow  itself  to  be  set  aside  with  impunity.  If,  there 
fore,  they  assume  the  semblance  of  a  serious  interpreta 
tion,  they  dissolve  into  airy  nothingness,  because  they 
lack  a  firm  foundation.  Fiction  may  have  its  liberty,  but 
research  has  its  restraint. 

However  widely  the  interpreters  of  the  Eddas  differ  in 
their  opinions  from  each  other,  and  however  faithless  they 
sometimes  are  even  to  themselves,  their  illustrations  may,, 
nevertheless,  all  be  referred  to  three  classes — the  historic, 
the  physical,  and  the  ethical :  to  the  historic  method,  in 
as  far  as  every  nation's  mythology  and  earliest  history 
come  in  contact  and  melt  into  each  other  at  their  boun 
daries,  and  transgress  each  other's  domain ;  to  the  physical, 
because  all  mythology  has  nature  and  her  manifestations 
for  object ;  to  the  ethical,  because  laws  for  the  conduct  of 
mankind  are  the  final  intent  of  all  religion. 

The  historic  mode  of  illustration  is  the  most  circum 
scribed  of  all.  As  mythology  embraces  not  only  life  phy 
sically  and  ethically  considered,  but  also  the  creation  and 
destruction  of  the  world,  the  beginning  and  end  of  time, 
or  eternity,  we  consequently  find  in  it  many  elements 
that  belong  not  to  the  province  of  history,  and  every  at 
tempt  to  bring  them  within  its  pale  must  naturally  prove 


abortive.  This  mode  of  illustration  can,  therefore,  at  best 
be  applied  only  to  the  agency  of  natural  beings — the  gods. 
It  is  divided  into  two  branches.  It  may  either  be  assumed 
that  real  men  have  been  regarded  as  gods,  or  that  super 
human  beings  have  been  considered  as  persons  on  the 
earth.  Of  these  branches  the  first  may  be  subdivided : 
the  deified  beings  may  be  regarded  as  impostors  and  de 
ceivers,  or  as  benefactors  of  mankind. 

That  the  gods,  Odin  and  his  friends,  were  mere  de 
ceivers,  magicians,  and  wizards  (trollmen) ;  that  they 
dazzled  the  eyes  of  the  people  by  their  arts,  and  thereby 
induced  them  to  believe  whatever  they  deemed  conducive 
to  their  worldly  objects;  that  religion  arose  among  the 
people,  not  as  a  necessity,  but  was  a  priestly  imposture — 
such  was  the  opinion  entertained  in  the  Christian  middle 
age  of  the  ancient  nlythology,  all  heathenism  being  con 
sidered  a  work  of  the  devil,  who  through  his  ministers, 
the  pagan  priests,  enlarged  the  realm  of  falsehood  upon 
earth ; — that  the  earliest  human  beings  were  giants  of 
superhuman  size  and  powers,  after  whom  came  others,  less 
of  stature,  but  excelling  them  in  sagacity,  who  overcame 
them  by  sorcery,  and  gained  for  themselves  the  reputation 
of  gods  ;  that  their  successors  were  a  mixture  of  both,  nei 
ther  so  large  as  the  giants  nor  so  crafty  as  the  gods,  though 
by  the  infatuated  people  they  were  worshiped  as  gods ; 
such  was  the  belief  in  Saxo's  time,  who  consequently  sets 
forth  the  opinions  just  adduced,  and  speaks  of  Odin  as  of  a 
being  who  had  acquired  for  himself  divine  honours  through 
out  Europe,  and  after  having  fixed  his  residence  at  Upsala, 
he  and  his  companions  were  there  regarded  as  divine 
beings  l.  The  first  class  of  beings  was  of  course  Ymir 
and  his  offspring,  the  Frost-giants ;  the  second,  Odin  and 
his  kindred;  the  third,  the  priests  of  the  gods,  who  by 

1  Saxo  Gram.  pp.  42.  sqq. 


fraud  disseminated  the  doctrines  of  their  predecessors,  and 
raised  themselves  to  the  rank  of  gods. 

That  these  opinions  found  followers  in  the  middle  age 
may  easily  be  conceived,  but  it  may  well  seem  extraor 
dinary  that  also  in  modern  times  they  have  had  their  de 
fenders,  and  that,  by  confounding  the  announcement  by 
the  priest  of  the  pretended  will  of  the  gods  with  the  divine 
beings  themselves,  any  one  could  be  satisfied  with  the 
persuasion,  that  priestly  craft  and  deception  have  alone 
formed  the  entire  circle  of  religious  ideas,  which  are  a  na 
tural  necessity  among  every  people,  and  one  of  the  earliest 
manifestations  of  man's  reflection  on  himself  and  on  the 

More  probable  is  the  opinion  that,  not  deception,  but 
real  historical  events  have  given  rise  to  myths ;  that  the 
worship  of  Odin  and  his  kin  and  companions  in  the  North 
originated  in  the  immigration  of  a  sacerdotal  caste ;  that 
the  priest's  agency  has,  by  the  people  themselves,  been 
confounded  with  that  of  the  god,  whose  minister  he  was ; 
that  his  undertakings  and  exertions  for  the  civilization  of 
the  people,  the  evidences  of  his  superior  penetration  and 
higher  knowledge,  have,  after  his  death,  been  clad  in  a 
mythic  garb ;  and  that  thereby,  partly  through  learning 
and  partly  from  events,  a  series  of  myths  has  been  framed, 
the  elements  of  which  now  hardly  admit  of  being  sepa 
rated  from  each  other.     Such  was  the  opinion  of  Snorri 
and  other  ancient  writers,  according  to  whom  the  gods 
were  a  sacerdotal  caste  from  Asia,  even  from  Troy ;  Odin 
and  his  sons  were  earthly  kings  and  priests ;  Odin  died  in 
Sweden,  and  was  succeeded  by  Niord;  after  the  death  of 
whose  son,  Frey,  Freyia  alone  presided  over  the  sacrifices, 
being  the  only  one  of  the  deities  still  living1.     Such  a 
deification  of  human  beings  is  not  without  example  in  hi 
story;    among  the  Greeks  we  meet  with  many  historic 
1  Snorra-Edda,  Form.,  Ynglingas.  c.  2-13. 


personages,  whom  admiration  of  their  brilliant  qualities, 
and  the  fictions  to  which  they  have  given  birth,  have  raised 
to  a  superhuman  dignity.  Connected  with  this  opinion 
stands  the  historico-geographic  mode  of  illustration,  ac 
cording  to  which  the  ideas  concerning  mythic  beings  are 
transferred  to  real  actions  in  the  North,  and  mythic  tales 
of  the  warfare  between  gods  and  giants,  and  of  the  wan 
dering  of  the  gods  on  earth,  represented  as  memorials  of 
a  real  war  between  those  people,  and  of  the  M sir-religion's 
spread,  from  its  chief  seat  in  Sweden,  over  the  neighbour 
ing  countries.  This  idea  of  the  ancient  doctrine  having 
been  adopted  by  the  old  writers  themselves,  and  by  so  emi 
nent  an  historian  as  Snorri,  it  may  be  regarded  as  the 
property  of  history.  But  we  doubt  not  that  the  reader 
will  have  already  seen,  that  this  view  is  partial,  that  it  does 
not  exhaust  the  myths,  but,  at  the  utmost,  embraces  only 
a  few,  and  even  does  this  indirectly ;  for,  generally  speak 
ing,  it  does  not  supply  us  with  the  original  signification 
of  the  myths,  but  imparts  only  a  notice  of  their  later  ap 
plication.  To  illustrate  this  by  an  example. — The  inha 
bitants  of  the  North  knew  of  a  real  Alfheim  in  Norway, 
and  applied  their  ideas  of  the  alfs,  as  pure  and  exalted 
beings,  to  the  people  of  that  district  who  were  distinguished 
for  a  higher  degree  of  civilization  than  their  neighbours, 
but  did  not,  on  that  account,  renounce  their  belief  in  the 
alfs  as  superhuman  beings,  who  they  well  knew  stood  in  a 
superhuman  relation  to  the  rest  of  the  creation. 

All  beings  in  the  Northern  mythology,  says  Mone,  may 
be  regarded  as  personified  ideas,  or,  in  other  words,  that 
mythology  contains  philosophic  views  of  nature  and  life. 
So  far  the  physical  and  ethical  interpretations  coincide  as 
to  their  object ;  for  nature  and  life  stand  in  a  constant  re 
lation  of  interchange  with  each  other,  the  perception  of 
which  could  not  escape  even  the  earliest  observers.  The 
physical  mode  of  interpretation  has  then  for  object  to  in- 


dicatc  those  powers  of  nature  and  natural  phenomena, 
which  in  the  myths  are  represented  as  personal  beings, 
and  to  show  the  accordance  between  the  mythic  represen 
tation  and  the  agency  of  the  natural  powers.     This  mode 
of  illustration  has  been  followed  and  developed  by  the 
greater  number  of  interpreters,  and,  on  the  whole,  none 
of  the  proposed  systems  has  in  its  several  parts  been  so 
borne  out  as  this.     To  the  Northern  mythology  it,  more 
over,  presents  itself  so  naturally,  that  its  application  is 
almost  unavoidable ;  for  not  only  have  the  ancient  writers 
themselves  sometimes  expressly  declared  the  natural  phe 
nomenon  intended  by  this  or  that  myth,  as  the  rainbow, 
an  earthquake,  etc.,  but  some  myths,  as  that  of  the  wolf 
Fenrir,  the  Midgard's  serpent  and  others,  contain  so  evi 
dent  a  representation  of  a  natural  agency,  that  it  is  hardly 
possible  to  err  as  to  their  signification.  In  the  case,  there 
fore,  of  every  obscure  myth,  it  is  advisable  first  to  ascer 
tain  whether  it  is  or  is  not  a  natural  myth,  before  making 
any  attempt  to  explain  it  in  some  other  way.     But  be 
cause  this  mode  of  explanation  is  the  simplest,  most  na 
tural,  and  most  accordant  with  the  notions  of  antiquity, 
it  does  not  follow  that  it  can  be  applied  in  all  cases,  or 
that  it  is  always  applied  rightly.     An  explanation  may  be 
right  in  its  idea,  without  necessarily  being  so  in  its  seve 
ral  parts.     The  idea  may  be   seized,  but  the  application 
missed.     But  the  idea  itself  may  also  be  a  misconception, 
when  no  real  agreement  is  found  between  the  myth  and 
the  natural  object  to  which  it  is  applied;  when  the  resem 
blance  is,  as  it  were,  put  into  it,  but  does  not  of  itself 
spring  from  it.     An  example  or  two  may  serve  to  explain 
this,  to  which  the  reader  may  easily  add  others.     An  in 
terpretation  fails,  when  it  is  made  up  of  that  which  is  only 
the  poetic  garb  of  the  thought.     The  Valkyriur  are,  for 
instance,  sent  forth  by  Odin,  to  choose  the  heroes  that  are 
to  fall  in  a  battle :  they  hover  over  the  conflicting  bands, 


they  mingle  in  the  hostile  ranks,  they  take  the  fallen  in 
their  embrace,   and   ride  with  them    on   their   heavenly 
horses  to  Valhall.     Here  is  only  a  beautiful  poetic  expres 
sion  of  the  thought,  that  Valfather  Odin  decides  the  result 
of  the  battle,  that  his  will  decrees  who  shall  fall,  and  that 
this  kind  of  death  is  a  blessing,  through  which  the  hero  is 
taken  into  his  abode :  while  by  explaining  the  Valkyriur 
as  bright  aerial  meteors,  balls  of  fire,  and  the  like,  which, 
by  the  way,  could  not  make  their  appearance  on  every 
battle-field,  we  impair  all  the  poetic  beauty,  by  conceiving 
to  be  physical  that  which  is  purely  imaginary.     When  the 
signification  of  SkirmVs  journey1  is  thus  explained:  that 
Frey  is  the  sun,  Gerd  the  northern  light,  her  father,  Gy- 
mir,  the  frozen  ocean,  and  that  Frey  and  Gerd's  love  pro 
duce  spring  or  summer,  we  find  in  this  explanation  many 
and  striking  resemblances  with  the  several  contents  of  the 
poem ;  though  these  appear  to  be  purely  accidental,  be 
cause  a  principal  resemblance  is  wanting,  because  for  Gerd, 
as  the  northern  light,  it  can  be  no  very  formidable  threat, 
that  she  shall  always  continue  barren,  and  live  united  with 
a  Frost-giant,  which  is,  in  fact,  her  constant  lot;   and 
Frey's  fructifying  embrace— for  without  fruit  it  cannot  be, 
whatever  we  may  take  Frey  to  be,  since  it  takes  place  in 
the  wood  of  buds — has  on  a  being  like  the  northern  light 
no  effect,  which  is,  and  continues  to  be,  unfruitful.     The 
explanation  must,  therefore,  of  itself  pass  over  to  the  fruit- 
fulness  of  the  earth,  effected  by  the  summer  sun,  but 
thereby,  at  the  same  time,  abandons  its  first  direction. 
Here  the  idea,  which  really  forms  the  ground-work  of  the 
poem,  is  in  fact  comprehended,  viz.  the  earth  rendered 
fertile  by  Frey ;  but  when  put  aside  by  other  similitudes, 
it  is  almost  lost  in  another  idea — the  beauty  of  the  north 
ern  light. 

If,  with  some  commentators,  we  take  the  god  Vidar  for 
1  See  p.  46. 


the  silent  departure  of  the  year,  and,  consequently,  of  the 
winter  also  ;  the  time  when  Thor  wanders  to  Geirrod  ',  for 
the  autumn  or  beginning  of  winter  ;  and  Grid,  the  mother 
of  Vidar,  who  dwells  on  the  way  to  Geirrod,  for  the  au 
tumn  or  end  of  summer,  in  opposition  to  her  son ;  and 
when  we  find  that  she  mnst  be  a  giantess,  seeing  that  her 
son  closes  the  winter;  if  we  assume  all  this,  a  series  of 
ideas  is  set  up  which  have  no  natural  connection  with  the 
myths      Vidar,  it  is  true,  is  silent,  but  what  is  the  silent 
departure  of  the  year?     In  the  North  it  is  wont  to  be 
noisy  enough.     And  how  can  the  silent  departure  of  the 
year  be  said  to  destroy  Fenrir,  and  to  survive  the  gods, 
as  it  is  said  of  Vidar  2  ?     How  can  the  mother  be  in  oppo 
sition  to  the  son  ?  and  how  can  her  nature  be  determined 
by  the  son's  ?     If  Grid  is  the  end  of  summer,  she  might, 
perhaps,  be  said  to  bring  forth  winter,  but  not  the  close  of 
winter ;  nor,   because  Vidar  closes  the  winter,  must  his 
mother  be  a  giantess,  but  rather  the  converse;  if  his  mo 
ther  is  a  giantess,  he  might  be  winter,  and  a  giant  himself 
By  this  interpretation,  contradiction  seems  heaped  on  con 

Among  the  extraordinary  directions  which  the  pnys* 
mode  of  interpretation  has  taken,  must  be  noticed  that 
which  may  be  called  the  chymical.    It  consists  in  showing 
the  accordance  between  the  myths  and  the  later  systems 
of  chymistry.     It  explains,  for  instance,  the  three  equal 
divinities  by  the  three  natural  substances,  sulphur,  quick 
silver,  and  salt ;  Odin,  Vili,  and  Ve3,  as  the  three  laws  of 
nature,  gravity,  motion,  and  affinity.     It  takes  the  rivers 
that  flow  from  Hvergelmir4  to  denote  destructive  kinds  ot 
gas  in  the  bowels  of  the  earth  ;  the  horses  of  the  gods, 
on  which  they  ride  over  Bifrost,  for  vibrations  in  the  air; 
Sleipnir  among  others  for  the  vibrations  of  light :  Valfather 

i  Page  52.  2  Pages  82,  84.  3  Page  4.  «  Pages  3,  21. 


Odin  for  elective  affinity,  in  the  chymical  acceptation.  Ac 
cording  to  this  system,  Thor  is  not  the  thunder-storm, 
but  its  profounder  cause,  electricity.  By  his  name  of 
Auku-Thor  (derived  from  auka,  to  eke,  augment)  is  signi 
fied  an  accumulation  of  electricity ;  his  belt  must  then 
bear  allusion  to  the  electric  condenser ;  his  iron  gloves  are 
conductors.  The  myth  of  Thor's  journey  to  Griotuna- 
gard  1  bears  allusion  to  the  diffusion  of  terrestrial  mag 
netism  in  the  vegetable  kingdom,  while  Hrungnir  is  petri 
faction,  Freyia  and  Sif  are  carbon  and  oxygen,  Thor's  son, 
Magni,  is  the  magnet,  and  Mockurkalfi  the  magnetic 
needle.  In  the  story  of  the  Origin  of  Poetry  2,  Kvasir  is 
saccharine  matter,  Fialar  and  Galar,  who  slay  him,  putre 
faction  and  fermentation,  by  which  saccharine  matter  is 
decomposed  ;  Odhraerir  is  tension,  Son  vibration,  Bodn 
echo,  Gilling  dregs  that  are  precipitated ;  his  wife,  who  is 
crushed  by  a  millstone,  tartar,  Suttung  spirituous  drink, 
and  Gunnlod  carbonic  acid.  Many  of  the  illustrations 
according  to  this  system  might  be  adduced  as  examples 
that  the  idea  is  there,  but  that  the  application  has  failed, 
and  no  wonder,  as  it  gives  credit  to  antiquity  for  a  know 
ledge  of  nature,  which  it  neither  had  nor  could  have. 

In  this  mode  of  explanation  is  comprised  that  which 
may  be  termed  the  astronomical,  as  far  as  its  object  is  to 
show  that  the  knowledge  the  ancients  had  of  the  sun,  the 
stars,  and  the  division  of  the  year,  was  applied  mythically, 
and  constituted  a  part  of  the  learning  of  their  priests. 
Traces  of  this  mode  are  to  be  found  in  almost  all  mytho 
logies,  as  the  contemplation  of  the  heavenly  bodies  must 
find  its  application  in  life,  in  determining  the  courses  of 
the  year,  in  distinguishing  particular  days,  and,  by  certain 
significant  signs,  in  fixing  the  fugacious  with  time  in  the 
memory.  Herewith  may  the  arithmetic  of  the  ancients  be 

1  Page  69.  *  Page  40 


brought  in  connection,  and  the  explanation  will  then,  at 
the  same  time,  be  mathematical.     Both  these  methods  of 
illustration  are,  however,  in  the  Northern  mythology  of 
but  limited  application,  and  entirely  fail  in  the  case  of 
myths  that  have  another  origin  and  object.     It  has  already 
been  remarked  by  others,  that  among  our  forefathers  we 
find  very  little,  next,  indeed,  to  nothing,  about  the  sun, 
moon,  and  stars.     Sol  \  that  is  the  damsel  who  drives  the 
horses  of  the  sun,  is,  it  is  true,  named  as  a  goddess,  but 
only  incidentally,  and  without  mythic  action.     The  sun 
itself  was  no  god,  but  only  a  disk  of  fire  issuing  from 
Muspellheim,  the  region  of  eternal  light,  drawn  by  two 
horses  and  guided  by  the  damsel  Sol ;  in  its  most  exalted 
character  appearing  only  as  Odin's  eye ;  but  of  any  adora 
tion  paid  to  it,  not  a  trace  appears  in  the  whole  mytho 
logy.     Bil ]  is  also  mentioned  as  a  goddess,  but  she  is  one 
o/the  moon's  spots,  not  the  moon  itself:  of  her  worship 
not  a  trace  is  to  be  found.    The  stars  came  forth  as  sparks 
from  Muspellheim  2,  and  were  fixed  on  and  under  heaven  ; 
an  idea  so  childish,  that  it  could  not  possibly  have  oc 
curred  to  any  one  who  thought  of  worshiping  such  spangles 
as  gods.     Two  are  mentioned  as  formed  of  earthly  matter, 
viz.  Thiassi's  eyes8,  and  OrvandiFs  toe4  (probably  the  two 
principal  stars 'in  the  head  of  the  bull,  and  the  polar  star, 
or  one  of  the  stars  in  the  great  bear) ;  but  their  origin  from 
giants  must  at  once  have  prevented  all  adoration  of  them. 
With  these  exceptions,  stars  are  neither  spoken  of  nor  even 
named  in  any  myth.     Where  so  little  attention  was  paid 
to  the  heavenly  bodies  and  their  motions,  it  cannot  be 
supposed  that  any  idea  existed  of  a  complete  solar  year 
with  its  twelve  months ;  nor  do  the  two  passages  in  the 
Eddas,  where  mention  clearly  occurs  of  the  division  of 
time  5,  give  any  cause  for  supposing  it,  as  they  name  only 

i  Page  6.  2  Page  5.  3  Page  45.  4  Page  71. 

3  Gylf.  8.     Voluspa,  Str.  6. 


the  parts  of  the  day  and  night,  according  to  which  the 
year  may  be  calculated,  without,  by  any  more  precise  data, 
bringing  it  in  connection  with  the  sun  and  moon.  Of  the 
moon  they  observed  two  principal  changes,  Nyi  and  Nithi, 
which  implies  an  observation  of  its  course.  Of  the  sun, 
on  the  contrary,  we  find  nothing,  except  in  connection 
with  the  day.  This  leads  to  the  supposition,  that  the 
oldest  year  among  the  inhabitants  of  the  North,  as  among 
other  nations,  was  a  lunar  year,  which  is  corroborated  by 
the  Vafthrudnismal L,  where,  after  having  made  mention 
of  day  and  night,  in  the  same  strophe  it  adds,  that  the 
gods  created  Nyi  and  Nithi  for  the  calculation  of  the  year ; 
nor  is  there  any  historic  information  to  the  contrary.  On 
the  other  hand,  the  earliest  mention  of  a  regular  compu 
tation  by  the  solar  year  of  364  days,  or  12  months,  is 
from  the  years  950  to  970,  that  is,  at  the  utmost,  only 
fifty  years  older  than  the  introduction  of  Christianity. 
The  Icelanders,  therefore,  who  at  that  time  adopted  a 
similar  computation,  cannot  have  brought  such  accurate 
knowledge  with  them  when  they  emigrated  from  Norway, 
where,  it  can  hardly  be  assumed  such  a  calculation  was  in 
use  at  the  time  of  Harald  Harfagr  2,  much  less  before  his 
time.  Hence  some  doubt  may  be  entertained  whether  the 
twelve  mansions  of  the  ^Esir 3  have  reference  to  the  year 
determined  by  the  course  of  the  sun.  As,  however,  some 
distinguished  commentators  have  adopted  this  view,  a 
short  sketch  of  the  system  adopted  by  the  late  Professor 
Finn  Magnusen4  is  here  given,  as  most  in  accordance 
with  the  Grimnismal. 

1  Str.  25. 

2  In  whose  reign  the  colonization  of  Iceland  commenced,  an.  874. 

3  Grimnismal,  Str.  4-17. 

4  See  commentary  in  '  Den  ^Eldre  Edda,'  5.  pp.  148,  seq. 

G  5 



I    ydal.  Ull.  November. 

II.  Alfheim.  Frey.  December. 

III.  Valaskialf.  Vali.  January. 

IV.  Sockquabeck.               Saga.  February. 
V.  Gladsheim.                   Hropt.  March. 

VI.  Thrymheim.  Skadi.  April. 

VII.  Breidablik.  Baldur.  May. 

VIII.  Himinbiorg.  Heimdall.  June. 

IX.  Folkvang.  Freyia.  July. 

X.  Glitnir.  Forseti.  August. 

XI.  Noatun.  Niord.  September. 

XII.  Landvidi.  Vidar.  October. 

Here  congruity  certainly  prevails  in  many  parts  :  winter 
precedes  summer,  and  begins  with  Ull  just  at  the  time 
when  the  ancients  began  to  reckon  their  winter;  Ull  can 
very  well  inhabit  the  humid  dales  (Ydalir1)  in  November; 
Frey,  in  December,  may  have  got  Alfheim  for  a  tooth-gift2 ; 
Vali,  who  renews  the  year3,  presides  in  January;  Odin 
with  Saga  may  here  in  February  repeat  the  records  of  war 
like  feats  performed,  and  the  like4.     Notwithstanding  all 
which,  it  appears  to  me,  that  to  these  systems  it  may  be 
objected,  that  there  is  no  other  ground  for  assuming  that 
the  mansions  of  the  gods  stand  in  any  fixed  order  with 
respect  to  each  other,  than  because  they  are  so  enumerated 
in  the  Grimnismal;  for  the  same  poem  enumerates  also 
the  horses  of  the  JEsir,  the  several  names  of  Odin,  etc., 
etc.,  and  may,  therefore,  be  considered  a  sort  of  catalogue 
or  nomenclature  of  mythic  objects.    Nor  is  there  any  more 
reason  for  excluding  Thor  than  for  excluding  Heimdall, 
the  god  of  the  rainbow,  both  being  connected  with  the 
aerial  phenomena,  and  have  no  reference  to  the  annual 
course  of  the  sun ;  and,  in  general,  it  is  clear,  as  far  as  I 
can  perceive,  that  neither  Vidar,  nor  Niord,  the  god  of  the 
wind  and  ocean,  nor  Frey  and  Freyia,  the  divinities  of 

1  Page  30.          2  Page  25.  3  Pages  30,  84.  <  Page  34. 


earth's  fertility,  nor  Saga,  the  muse  of  history,  as  these 
beings  are  represented  in  the  Eddas,  either  have  reference 
to,  or  stand  in  connection  with  the  course  of  the  sun,  or 
with  the  division  of  the  year. 

With  respect  to  the  arithmetic  of  the  Scandinavians,,  we 
find  here,  as  among  all  ancient  people,  a  frequent  recur 
rence  of  certain  sacred  numbers,  as  3,  7,  9,  4,  81 ;  but  to 
this  their  whole  arithmetic  seems  limited ;  arid  if  a  solitary 
instance  occurs  of  something  that  may  have  a  more  recon 
dite  allusion,  as,  for  instance,  the  540  gates  of  Valhall2, 
from  each  of  which  800  Einheriar  could  ride  abreast,  such 
matter  can,  at  the  utmost,  only  be  regarded  as  remnants 
of  older  traditions,  whose  original  connection  is  lost.  By 
multiplying  540  by  800,  we  get  a  number  identical  with 
an  Indian  period;  but  is  not  this  identity  purely  acci 
dental  ?  It  is  impossible  to  conceive  what  connection  can 
subsist  between  an  Indian  period  of  time  and  the  doors  of 
Valhall  and  the  number  of  Einheriar. 

Every  religion  of  Antiquity  embraces  not  only  the 
strictly  religious  elements,  such  as  belief  in  the  super 
natural,  and  the  influence  of  this  belief  on  the  actions  of 
men,  but,  in  general,  all  that  knowledge  which  is  now 
called  science.  The  priests  engrossed  all  the  learning. 
Knowledge  of  nature,  of  language,  of  man's  whole  intel 
lectual  being  and  culture,  of  the  historic  origin  of  the  state, 
and  of  the  chief  races,  was  clad  in  a  poetic,  often  a  mythic, 
garb,  propagated  by  song  and  oral  tradition,  and,  at  a  later 
period,  among  the  most  cultivated  of  the  people,  particu 
larly  certain  families,  by  writing.  These  disseminated, 
among  the  great  mass  of  the  community,  whatever  seemed 
to  them  most  appropriate  to  the  time  and  place.  Such  is 

1  For  the  predilection  entertained  by  the  Saxons  for  the  number  8,  see 
Lappenberg's  '  England  under  the  Anglo-Saxon  Kings,'  i.  77. 

2  Page  19. 


the  matter  still  extant  in  the  Eddas,  even  as  they  now  lie 
before  us,  after  having  past  through  the  middle  age.  The 
later  interpreters  are,  therefore,  unquestionably  right  in 
seeking  in  these  remains  not  only  traditions  of  the  origin 
and  destruction  of  the  world,  of  the  relation  of  man  to  the 
Divinity,  but  also  the  outlines  of  the  natural  and  historic 
knowledge  possessed  by  Antiquity.  We  have  of  course, 
in  the  foregoing  sketch,  omitted  all  that  might  seem  to 
have  an  historic  signification,  and  communicated  that  alone 
which  may  be  regarded  as  purely  mythic. 

This  mythic  matter  is  comprised  in  two  ancient  monu 
ments,  the  Elder  and  the  Younger  Edda,  called  usually, 
after  their  supposed  compilers,  Sremund's  Edda,  and 
Snorri's  Edda.  The  first-mentioned  contains  songs  that 
are  older  than  Christianity  in  the  North,  and  have  been 
orally  transmitted  and  finally  committed  to  writing  in  the 
middle  age.  They  have,  for  the  most  part,  reached  us  as 
fragments  only,  and  several  chasms  have,  at  a  later  period, 
with  greater  or  less  felicity,  been  filled  up  by  prosaic  intro 
ductions  or  insertions.  The  other  Edda  consists  of  tales 
founded  on,  and  often  filled  up  with,  verses  from  the  Elder, 
but  which  have  been  written  down  after  the  time  of 
paganism,  preserved,  as  memorials  of  the  past,  by  indi 
vidual  scholars  of  the  time,  and  to  which,  here  and  there, 
are  added  illustrations  of  some  part  of  the  subject1.  To  all 

1  The  following  is  the  introduction  to  the  matter  contained  in  the  por 
tion  of  the  Prose,  or  Snorri's,  Edda,  which  is  entitled  '  Gylfaginning,'  or 
Delusion  of  Gylfi  :— 

"  King  Gylfi  (see  p.  34,  note  6)  was  a  wise  man  and  of  great  knowledge. 
He  wondered  much  that  the  ^Esir  folk  were  so  wise  that  everything  went  as 
they  willed.  He  considered  whether  it  might  proceed  from  their  nature, 
or  be  caused  by  the  divine  powers  whom  they  worshiped.  He  undertook 
a  journey  to  Asgard,  and  travelled  in  disguise,  having  assumed  the  like 
ness  of  an  aged  man ;  and  was  thus  concealed.  But  the  /Esir  were  too 
wise  in  possessing  fore-knowledge,  and  knew  of  his  journey  ere  he  came, 
and  received  him  with  illusions.  So  when  he  came  into  the  city  he  per- 


this  are  appended  fragments  of  divers  sorts  of  mythic 
learning,  intended  for  the  use  of  later  skalds,  as  an  illus 
tration  of,  and  guide  to,  the  use  of  poetic  expressions. 
Hence  it  will  be  manifest  that  the  older  of  these  collec 
tions  is  the  most  important,  though  to  the  understanding, 
arranging  and  completing  of  it,  considerable  help  is  found 
in  the  younger,  and  the  interpretation  of  the  one  is  not 
practicable  without  constantly  comparing  it  with  the  other. 
Where  the  myths  in  the  Elder  Edda  are  at  all  detailed 
and  complete,  they  are  full  of  poetry  and  spirit,  but  they 

ceived  a  hall  so  lofty  that  he  could  hardly  see  over  it.  Its  roof  was 
covered  with  gilded  shields,  like  a  shingle  roof. 

"  Gylfi  saw  a  man  at  the  hall  gates  playing  with  small  swords,  of  which 
he  had  seven  at  a  time  in  the  air.  This  man  inquired  his  name.  His 
name,  he  said,  was  Gangleri,  that  he  had  come  a  tedious  way,  and  re 
quested  a  night's  lodging.  He  then  asked  to  whom  the  hall  belonged. 
The  man  answered  that  it  was  their  king's :  '  but  I  will  attend  you  to  see 
him,  you  can  then  yourself  ask  him  his  name.'  Thereupon  the  man  turned 
into  the  hall  followed  by  Gangleri,  and  instantly  the  gate  was  closed  at 
their  heels.  He  there  saw  many  apartments  and  many  people ;  some  at 
games,  some  drinking,  some  fighting  with  weapons.  He  then  looked 
about,  and  saw  many  things  that  seemed  to  him  incredible :  whereupon 
he  said  to  himself, — 

Every  gate,  for  'tis  hard  to  know 

ere  thou  goest  forward,  where  foes  sit 

shalt  thou  inspect ;  in  the  dwelling. 

(Havamal,  Str.  1.) 

"  Here  he  saw  three  thrones,  one  above  another,  and  a  man  sitting  on 
each.     He  then  asked  what  the  name  of  each  chieftain  might  be.     His 
conductor  answered,  that  he  who  sat  on  the  lowest  throne  was  a  king 
and  named  Har  (High) ;  that  the  next  was  named  Jafnhar  (Equally  high) ; 
and  that  the  highest  of  all  was  called  Thrithi  (Third).     Har  then  asked 
the  comer  what  further  business  he  had ;  adding,  that  he  was  entitled  to 
meat  and  drink,  like  all  in  Hava-hall.     He  answered,  that  he  would  first 
inquire  whether  any  sagacious  man  were  there  ?     Har  told  him  that  he 
would  not  come  off  whole,  unless  he  proved  himself  the  wiser : 
but  stand  forth 
while  thou  mak'st  inquiry : 
'tis  for  him  to  sit  who  answers. 

Gangleri  then  began  his  speech."  The  questions  and  answers  that  follow 
constitute  what  is  called  Snorri's,  or  the  Prose,  or  the  Younger  Edda. 


often  consist  in  dark  allusions  only,  a  defect  which  the 
Younger  cannot  supply,  for  here  we  too  often  meet  with 
trivial  and  almost  puerile  matter,  such  as  we  may  imagine 
the  old  religious  lore  to  have  become,  when  moulded  into 
the  later  popular  belief.  It  follows,  therefore,  that  several 
myths  now  appear  as  poor,  insipid  fictions,  which,  in  their 
original  state,  were  probably  beautiful  both  in  form  and 
substance.  In  both  Eddas,  the  language  is  often  obscure, 
and  the  conception  deficient  in  clearness;  it  appears, 
moreover,  that  several  myths  are  lost1,  so  that  a  complete 
exposition  of  the  Northern  Mythology  is  no  longer  to  be 

All  illustration  of  Northern  mythology  must  proceed 
from  the  Eddas,  and  the  most  faithful  is,  without  doubt, 
that  which  illustrates  them  from  each  other.  It  may  in 
the  meanwhile  be  asked,  whether  their  matter  has  its  ori 
ginal  home  in  the  North,  or  is  of  foreign  growth  ?  For 
myths  may  either  have  originated  among  the  Northern 
people  themselves,  and  gradually  in  course  of  time  have 
developed  themselves  among  their  descendants  as  a  pro 
duction  of  the  intellectual  and  political  life  of  the  people ; 
or  they  may  have  found  entrance  from  without,  have  been 
forced  on  the  people  of  the  North  at  the  conquest  of  their 
countries,  and  with  the  suppression  of  their  own  ideas ;  or, 
lastly,  they  may  consist  of  a  compound  of  native  and 
foreign  matter.  This  question  has  been  the  subject  of 
strict  and  comprehensive  investigation.  To  the  faith  of 
the  ancient  Finnish  race  is  with  great  probability  referred 

1  Instances  of  lost  myths  are,  "  How  Idun  embraced  her  brother's 
murderer,"  Loka-glepsa,  Str.  17  ;  "  Odin's  sojourn  in  Samso,"  ib.  Str.  24  ; 
"  How  Loki  begat  a  son  with  Ty's  wife,"  ib.  Str.  40 ;  Myths  concerning 
Heimdall's  head,  and  his  contest  with  Loki  for  the  Brisinga-men,  Skald- 
skap.  8  (see  p.  29) ;  a  myth  concerning  the  giant  Vagnhofdi,  Saxo,  edit. 
Stephanii,  p.  9  ;  edit.  Miiller,  pp.  34,  36,  45  ;  and  of  Jotnaheiti,  in  Snorra- 
Edda,  p.  211 ;  of  the  giant  Thrivaldi  slain  by  Thor,  and  other  of  his  feats, 
Skaldskap.  4,  and  HarbarSslj.  Str.  29,  35,  37,  etc. 


the  myth  of  Forniot's  three  sons,,  Hler  (sea),  Logi  (fire), 
Kari  (wind) l ;  also  that  of  Thor,  as  the  god  of  thunder, 
and  a  comparison  with  the  belief  still  prevalent  among  the 
Lapps  will  tend  to  confirm  this  opinion.  This,  however, 
constitutes  a  very  inconsiderable  part  of  the  ^Esir-mytho- 
logy,  and  cannot  have  contributed  much  to  its  develop 
ment.  On  the  other  hand,  everything  shows  that  it  had 
its  original  home  in  the  South  and  the  East  j  thither  point 
tradition,  resemblance  to  the  mythology  of  the  Germanic 
and  even  more  southern  nations,  and  language.  An  in 
quiry  into  this  opinion  of  its  origin,  which  traces  it  to  the 
banks  of  the  Ganges,  may  be  instituted  in  two  ways : 
either  by  tracing  a  similitude  between  its  several  myths 
and  those  of  other  nations,  or  by  considering  as  a  whole 
the  spirit  of  the  one  mythology  compared  with  that  of  the 
other.  A  comparison  of  the  several  myths,  which  has  with 
great  learning  been  made  by  Finn  Magnusen,  leads  to  the 
result,  that  between  the  Northern  on  the  one  side,  and  the 
Indian,  Persian  and  other  kindred  mythologies  on  the  other, 
are  found  many  striking  resemblances,  particularly  with 
reference  to  the  creation  of  the  world,  the  transmigration 
of  souls,  regeneration,  etc. ;  while,  on  the  contrary,  they 
rather  diverge  from  each  other,  on  a  comparison  together 
of  their  respective  spirits.  The  Oriental  is  contemplative, 
the  Northern  is  one  of  pure  action;  according  to  the 
first,  the  gods  are  to  be  reconciled  by  works  of  atone 
ment,  according  to  the  second,  by  battle.  The  one  was 
a  natural  consequence  of  the  warmth  of  the  East,  the 
other  of  the  Northern  cold.  It  seems,  therefore,  probable, 
that  the  earliest  elements  of  the  Northern  mythology  were 
brought  from  Asia  through  divers  other  nations  to  the 
North,  where  they  became  developed  and  formed  after  a 
peculiar  fashion.  The  rugged,  wild,  grand  nature  of  the 
country  supplied  those  great  and  lofty  images,  drawn  from 
1  Page  27. 


ice-bergs  and  rocks ;  and  the  ever  active  course  of  life,  in 
which  men  were  there  engaged,  transformed  the  sluggish, 
half-slumbering  gods  of  the  East,  absorbed  in  contempla 
tion,  into  beings  that  rode  on  the  wings  of  the  storm, 
and,  in  the  raging  battle,  gathered  men  to  them,  to  re 
ward  them  in  another  world  with  combats  and  death,  from 
which  they  rose  again  to  life,  and  with  the  aliments  known 
to  the  natives  of  the  North  as  the  most  nutritive,  and  by 
which  they  were  strengthened  to  begin  the  combat  anew1. 
Every  closer  consideration  of  Northern  life,  of  the  people's 
constant  warfare  with  nature  and  with  foes,  renders  it 
easily  conceivable,  that  Odin,  however  Buddhistic  he  may 
originally  have  been,  must  under  a  Northern  sky  be  trans 
formed  into  a  Valfather8 ;  that  the  Northern  man,  to  whom 
death  was  an  every-day  matter,  must  have  a  Valhall,  and 
that  the  idea  of  a  state  of  happiness  without  battle,  of 
quiet  without  disquiet,  must  be  for  ever  excluded.  After 
all,  in  explaining  the  Eddas,  it  does  not  seem  necessary  to 
resort  to  other  mythologies,  though  a  comparison  with 
them  is  always  valuable,  and  highly  interesting,  when  it 
shows  an  analogy  between  them  and  the  myths  of  the 

To  arrive  at  a  satisfactory  explanation  of  the  Northern 
myths,  it  is  necessary  to  commence  with  the  signification 
of  the  mythic  names.  Verbal  illustration  must  precede 
every  other ;  when  that  fails,  the  rest  is  almost  always  de 
fective.  The  names  of  the  gods  are,  as  Grimm  observes, 
in  themselves  significant,  bearing  an  allusion  to  their  na 
ture3.  But  in  this  investigation,  difficulties  sometimes 
arise,  as  it  is  generally  the  oldest  words  of  a  language, 
that  form  the  ground-work,  and  all  etymology  is,  more 
over,  exposed  to  much  caprice.  The  illustration  of  myths 
will  also  be  greatly  prejudiced,  if  we  yield  to  a  blind  guess 

1  Page  19.  2  page  15. 

3  Deutsche  Mythologie,  p.  201,  1st  edit. 


among  forms  of  like  sound.  Every  verbal  illustration 
must,  therefore,  be  conformable  to  the  laws  of  transition 
between  the  Northern  and  its  kindred  tongues ;  a  rule,  by 
the  way,  easier  to  give  than  to  follow. 

To  explain  a  myth  is  to  show  what  can  have  given  oc 
casion  to  the  image  on  which  it  hinges,  and  to  express,  in 
unemblematic  language,  the  thought  which  serves  as  a 
basis  for  the  image.  Here  explanation  may  usually  stop  • 
for  to  follow  the  figurative  picture  through  all  its  parts  is 
not  necessary,  that  being  a  process  which  will  naturally  be 
undertaken  by  every  poetic  mind,  and  the  object  of  expla 
nation  is  not  to  excite  the  fancy,  but  to  lead  it  to  the 
point  whence  it  may  begin  its  flight.  In  the  myth  of 
Frey  and  Gerd's  love,  for  instance,  the  thought  forms  the 
basis,  that  the  god  of  fecundity  longs  to  spread  his  bless 
ing  over  the  barren  earth,  and  to  wake  in  the  seed  its 
slumbering  efficacy.  To  show  this  is  to  explain  the  myth. 
But  this  thought  is  expressed  by  a  picture  of  all  the  de 
sires  and  sufferings  of  love,  of  the  blessing  of  fruitfulness, 
as  the  effect  of  love  in  the  youthful  heart ;  whereby  the 
myth  becomes  a  beautiful  poem.  To  develop  this  poetic 
beauty  is  not  the  object  of  illustration ;  it  can  escape  no 
one  who  has  a  feeling  for  poetry.  And  to  follow  all  the 
possible  resemblances  between  the  effect  of  fruitfulness  in 
the  earth,  and  the  effect  of  love  in  the  heart,  would  be  as 
uninteresting  as  tasteless. 



EVERY  illustration  of  the  Eddas  lias  something  indivi 
dual  ;  it  depends  on  the  idea  we  have  formed  to  ourselves 
of  Antiquity.     That  which  I  shall  here  attempt  has  not 
for  object  either  to  disparage  any  foregoing  one,  or  to 
render  it  superfluous.     Availing  myself  of  the  labours 
my  predecessors,  I  shall  endeavour  to  represent  the  prin 
cipal  Northern  myths  in  their  most  natural  connection, 
and  thereby  furnish  my  readers  with  a  view  of  Northern 
mythology,  by  which  the  mental  culture  and  life  of  the 
people  may  the  more  easily  be  conceived. 

CREATION.— Before  heaven  and  earth,  gods  and  men 
existed,  there  were  cold  and  heat,  mist  and  flame,  which 
are  represented  as  two  worlds,  Niflheim  and  Muspellheim  * . 
Over  the  hovering  mist  and  the  world  of  fire  no  rulers  are 
named,  Surt  being  only  the  guardian  of  the  latter.     Be 
tween  both  worlds  there  was  nothing  except  Ginnunga- 
gap1,  a  boundless  abyss,  empty  space;  but  by  the  contact 
of  ice  and  heat,  there  was  formed,  through  the  power  of 
the  Almighty,  the  first,  unorganic  foundation  of  heaven 
and  earth— matter.     This  was  called  Ymir2,  and  is  repre 
sented  under  the  form  of  a  huge  giant.     Offspring  came 
forth  from  under  his  arm,  and  his  feet  procreated  with 
each  other;  for  the  unorganized  mass  was  increased  by 
life  not  inward  but  from  without.     He  was  nourished  by 
the  dripping  rime  from  the  constant  melting  of  the  ice, 
represented  under  the  figure  of  a  cow3,  the  symbol  of 
nourishment  and  preservation ;  or,  in  other  words,  matter 
constantly  added  to  itself,  and  spread  itself  into  a  mon 
strous  unorganic  race,  the  Frost-giants,  or  the  vast  groups 
of  snow-mountains  and  ice-bergs. 

ILLUSTRATION.— Before  the  world  itself,  in  the  begin- 
i  Page  3.  2  Page  3.  3  Page  4. 


ning,  its  foundation  existed :  a  creation  from  nothing  was 
incomprehensible.  The  existing  things  were  cold  and  heat, 
ice  and  light.     Towards  the  north  lay  Niflheim1,  towards 
the  south  Muspellheim.     Niflheim  (from  nifl,  Ger.  nebel, 
Lat.  nebula,  Gr.  ve<£eX7?)   signifies  the  home,  or  world  of 
mist.     Here  was  Hvergelmir2  (from  liver,  a  large  kettle, 
spring,  and  gelmir,  from  gialla,  stridere,  comp.  Ohg.  galm, 
stridor,  sonitus3),   the  bubbling,   roaring   kettle,   or  spring, 
whence  the  ice-streams  flow  forth.     They  are  called  Eli- 
vagar4  (from  el,  storm,  rain,  sleet,  and  vagr  (vogr),  wave, 
stream).     The  word  eitr,  which   is  applied  to  these  and 
similar  icy  streams,  signifies  poison,  but  originally  the  most 
intense  cold.    The  Swedes  still  say  '  etter-kallt/  equivalent 
to  our  piercing  cold.     The  first  twelve  rivers  which  run 
from  Hvergelmir,  some  of  which  occur  also  as  rivers  pro 
ceeding  from  Eikthyrnir's  horn  in  Valhall5,  signify  the 
misty  exhalations,  before  the  creation  of  the  world,  like 
the  clouds  afterwards.     Muspellheim,  it  may  be  supposed, 
betokened  (in  contradistinction  to  Niflheim)  the  world  of 
light,  warmth,  fire ;  but  the  origin  of  the  word  is  unknown6. 
Over  this  world  Surt   (the  swart,  connected  with  svart, 
niger7)  ruled,  a  god  who  reveals  himself  in  the  burning 
fire,  and  whose  sword  is  flames.     In  its  signification  of 
swart,  browned  by  fire,  the  name  resembles  Kris'na  (the 
black,  violet),  one  of  the  names  of  the  Indian  deity  Vishnu. 
Surt  is  not  an  evil  being ;  he  comes  forth,  it  is  true,  at  the 
end  of  the  world,  which  he  burns,  but  it  is  the  corrupt, 
fallen  world,  after  which  a  state  of  bliss  will  begin.    Nor 
is  he  black  of  hue  :  on  the  contrary,  he  and  his  followers, 
MuspelFs  sons,  form  a  bright,  shining  band8.     Surt,  in 
my  opinion,  is  not  the  same  as  he  whose  power  sends 
forth  the  heat,  for  then  Surfs  name,  not  this  periphrasis, 

1  Page  3.     Hrafnag.  Ojnns,  25,  26.  2  pages  3>  ]2. 

3  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  530.          4  Page  3.  s  Page  2Q. 

6  Page  3,  note  2.  1  Grimm,  p.  769.  *  Gylf.  p.  72. 


would  have  been  used1.     It  is  not  lie  who  causes  the  hot 
and  cold  worlds  to  come  in  contact  and  operate  on  each 
other  whereby  the  world's  foundation  came  into  being  :  it 
is  a  higher  being,  the  Ineffable,  the  Almighty,  without 
whose  will  the  worlds  of  mist  and  of  light  would  have  re 
mained  for  ever,  each  within  its  bounds.     But  He  willed, 
His  power  manifested  itself,  and  creation  began.    Between 
both  worlds  was  Ginnunga-gap  (the  abyss  of  abysses), 
from  ginn,   denoting   something  great,  widely  extended, 
whence  is  formed  ginnungr,  a  wide  expanse,  here  used  in 
the  genitive  plural.     This  appellation,  as  well  as  Ehvagar, 
was  by  the  geographers  applied  to  the  Frozen  ocean,  one 
of  the  many  proofs  that  mythic  names  have  obtained  an 
historic  application. 

Ymir  (from  omr,  ymr,  at  ymja)  signifies  the  noisy,  whist 
ling,  blustering;  it  is  the  primeval  chaos.     In  Aurgelmir 
(Orgelmir),  his  other  name2,  aur  signifies  matter,  the  old 
est  material  substance,  also  mud,  clay.     This  grew  and  be 
came  consistent,  strong,  firm ;  in  other  words,  he  brought 
forth  Thrudgelinir,  who  increased  in  size  till  he  became  a 
perfect  mountain,  Bergelmir3.     Au^humla2  (derived  from 
airSr,  desert,  Ger.  ode,  and  hum,  darkness,  dusk,  with  the 
derivative  termination  la)  shows  that  the  matter  increased 
by  the  streams  that  ran  through  the  desert  darkness.  The 
cow  is  found  in  almost  all  cosmogonies.   Hrfmjmrs*  (from 
hrim,   rime,  rime  frost,   and  purs,  }mss,  giant)    signifies 
plainly  enough  the  ice-bergs,  and  their  senseless  being. 

The  Universal  Father  (AlfoSr)  was  among  the  Frost- 
giants4.  That  is,  the  creative  power  began  to  operate  in 
the  unorganic,  elementary  mass.  The  cow,  or  nourishing 
power,  licked  the  salt  stones,  and  thereby  produced  an 
internal  motion,  so  that  life  sprang  up.  It  began  with 

i  See  p.  3  ;  also  the  passage  in  Gylf.  p.  6,  where  Surt  is  already  men- 
tioned  by  name.  ^e  *' 

3  It  should  therefore  be  written  Berggelmir. 


the  hair,  the  first  growing  plant ;  then  the  bead,  the  abode, 
of  thought,  came  forth ;  and  lastly,  the  entire  human  crea 
ture.  Vegetable,  intellectual,  and  animal  life  came  into 
activity,  the  strictly  so-called  creation  began,  the  first  in 
telligent  being  existed.  It  had  power  through  its  internal 
virtue,  it  increased  itself  of  itself :  Buri,  the  bringer  forth, 
produced  Bor,  the  brought  forth.  Bor  married  Bestla,  or 
Belsta1,  a  daughter  of  the  giant  Bolthorn;  the  higher 
mental  power  began  to  operate  in  the  better  part  of  the 
miserable  material,  which  was  thereby  ennobled,  and  the 
creative  powers,  the  .ZEsir,  came  forth :  they  were  good 
gods,  opposed  to  monsters,  to  the  wicked  giants.  The 
.^Esir  are  represented  as  three  brothers,  that  is,  three  di 
rections  of  the  same  agency,  Odin,  Vili,  and  Ve,  or  Mind, 
Will,  and  Holiness.  These  sons  of  Bor  slew  Ymir  or  Chaos, 
and  formed  of  him  heaven  and  earth1.  But  a  part  of  the 
material  escaped  from  their  quickening  power,  the  highest 
mountain  peaks  remained  untouched  by  the  inundation 
produced;  the  sea  gradually  subsided,  and  around  the 
inhabited  earth  high  ice-bergs  were  formed,  the  family  of 
Bergelmir.  From  the  world  of  light  came  the  bright 
heavenly  bodies,  but  they  wandered  about  without  object 
or  aim.  The  gods  placed  them  in  order  and  fixed  their 
course :  night  and  day,  winter  and  summer,  took  each  its 
turn;  days  and  years  might  be  reckoned.  The  most 
central  part  of  the  earth,  or  Midgard,  was  appointed  for 
the  future  human  race ;  the  JEsir  fixed  their  abode  in  As- 
gard,  the  highest  part  of  the  world.  This  was  the  first 
period  of  creation  :  they  rested. 

ILLUSTRATION. — The  word  salt,  Lat.  sal,  salum,  Gr. 
craXo?,  aX?,  is  referred  to  the  Sanskrit  zal,  to  put  oneself 
in  motion  (Lat.  salire).  It  is  the  expression  for  the  moving, 
animating,  recreative  power.  Buri  denotes  the  forth-bring 
ing,  origin,  source :  it  is  referred  to  the  Sansk.  Vu,  to  be, 
1  Page  4. 


also  to  consider,  think,  with  many  derivatives.   Borr,  Burr, 
or  Bors,  is  the  brought  forth,  born,  Sansk.  b'aras,  Goth, 
baurs,  Lat.  por,  puer.     It  also  forms  an  adjective  bor-inn, 
born,  from  bera,  to  bear,  bring  forth,  from  the  past  tense 
of  which,  bar,  is  derived  barn,  a  child,  A.  S.  beam,  Scot, 
bairn :  burr  also  (A.  S.  byre)  is  used  by  the  skalds  for 
son.     By  Bolthorn   (from   trouble,   evil,    bale,   and  ]?orn, 
thorn)  is  expressed  the  bad  quality  of  matter,  as  opposed 
to  the  gods.     Of  Bestla,  or  Belsta,  the  etymon  is  uncer 
tain,  as  is  also  the  signification  of  the  myth.     The  names 
Odin,  Vili,  and  Ve  will  be  noticed  hereafter.    The  general 
denomination  of  these  gods  is  As,  pi.  ^Esir;  Goth,  ans, 
A.  S.  6s,  pi.  es  (analogously  with  Ger.  Gans,  A.  S.  gos, 
ges,  goose,  geese}.    Jornandes  calls  them  An ses.    The  root 
is  the  Sansk.  as,  to  be,  exist,  and  is  the  same  as  the  Latin 
termination  ens1.     The  boat  in  which  Bergelmir  escaped 
is  called  lu$r,  signifying  a  lute,  drum,  also  a  sort  of  sack 
or  case  used  in  the  ancient  mills  ;  its  meaning  here  can 
not,  however,  be  doubtful,  as  it  evidently  corresponds  to 
Noah's  ark:  its  radical  signification  may  lie  in  its  hol- 
lowed-out  form. 

With  the  creation  of  the  gods  this  world  begins.  There 
was  a  state  before  it,  and  a  state  will  follow  it.  In  the 
state  before  it  the  raw  elements  existed,  but  it  was  a  rough, 
unformed  life  :  mind  was  yet  lacking  in  the  giant's  body. 
With  Odin  and  the  ^Esir  the  intellectual  life  began  to 
operate  on  the  raw  masses,  and  the  world  in  its  present 
state  came  into  existence. 

Day  and  night  were  opposed  to  each  other ;  light  came 

1  The  jEsir  are  the  creators,  sustainers  and  regulators  of  the  world,  the 
spirits  of  thought  and  life  that  pervade  and  animate  all  dead  nature,  and 
seek  to  subject  it  to  the  spiritual  will.  They  assemble  daily  to  hold  coun 
cil  on  the  world's  destinies.  The  human  form  and  manner  of  being  are 
ascribed  to  them,  but  in  a  higher  and  nobler  manner;  they  hear  and  see 
more  acutely,  they  go  from  place  to  place  with  inconceivable  speed.  Peter- 
sen,  Nor.  Myth.  p.  116. 


from  above,  darkness  from  beneath.  Night  was  before 
day,  winter  before  summer.  Light  existed  before  the  sun. 
The  moon  preceded,  the  sun  followed. 

ILLUSTRATION. — Here  are  several  denominations,  the 
significations  of  which  are  of  little  importance,  and  also 
very  doubtful.  The  three  husbands  of  Night,  it  is  sup 
posed,  bear  allusion  to  the  three  divisions  of  the  night 
(eyktir).  The  similarity  of  the  name  of  her  first  husband, 
Naglfari,  to  Naglfar,  that  of  the  ship  formed  of  the  nails 
of  the  dead,  that  is  to  appear  at  Ragnarock1,  is  remarkable, 
though  probably  purely  accidental.  Aud,  the  name  of 
their  son,  denotes  void,  desert.  Annar,  her  second  hus 
band^  s  name,  signifies  merely  second,  other.  Onar,  as  he 
is  also  called,  has  been  compared  with  the  Gr.  ovap,  a 
dream.  Celling  (Dogling),  her  third  husband's  name, 
may  be  a  diminutive  of  dagr,  day,  and  signify  dawn2. 

Hrimfaxi,  the  name  of  the  horse  of  night,  signifies  rime- 
or  frosty-mane.  His  other  appellation,  Fiorsvartnir,  may  be 
rendered  life-obscurer.  Skinfaxi,  the  name  of  the  horse  of 
day,  denotes  shining -mane;  his  other  name,  Glad,  brightness. 
Mundilfori  has  been  derived  from  0.  Nor.  mondull,  an 
axis ;  a  derivation,  if  to  be  relied  on,  which  seems  to  indi 
cate  a  knowledge  of  the  motion  of  the  heavens  round  the 
earth.  The  spots  in  the  moon,  which  are  here  alluded  to, 
require  but  little  illustration3.  Here  they  are  children 
carrying  water  in  a  bucket,  a  superstition  still  preserved 
in  the  popular  belief  of  the  Swedes4.  Other  nations  see  in 
it  a  man  with  a  dog,  some  a  man  with  a  bundle  of  brush 
wood,  for  having  stolen  which  on  a  Sunday  he  was  con 
demned  to  figure  in  the  moon5,  etc. 

1  Page  80.  2  Page  5.  3  Page  6. 

4  Ling's  Eddornas  Sinnebildslara,  i.  78. 

5  Lady  Cynthia  is  thus  described  by  Chaucer  (Testam.  of  Cresseide, 
260-263)  :— 

Her  gite  was  gray  and  ful  of  spottis  blake, 
And  on  her  brest  a  chorle  paintid  ful  even, 


Glen,  the  husband  of  the  sun,  is  the  Kymric  word  for 
sun.  Her  horses  are  Arvakr,  the  vigilant,  and  Alsvith,  the 
all-burning,  all-rapid.  The  sun  is  feminine  and  the  moon 
masculine,  because  day  is  mild  and  friendly,  night  raw 
and  stern ;  while  in  the  south,  day  is  burning  and  night 
the  most  pleasant.  The  father  of  Winter,  Vindsval,  de 
notes  windy,  cold.  The  father  of  Summer  is  Svasud,  or 
mild,  soft.  Hrsesvelg,  the  name  of  the  north  wind,  repre 
sented  as  an  eagle,  signifies  corpse-devourer1 . 

DWARFS  AND  MEN.  —  The  gods  assembled  on  Ida's 
plain2,  etc.  The  maidens  from  Jotunheini,  were,  with 
out  doubt,  the  maidens  of  fate  or  destiny,  who  craved  the 
creation  of  the  beings  that  should  be  subjected  to  them. 
Now,  therefore,  follows  the  creation  of  dwarfs  and  men. 
The  subordinate  powers  of  nature  were  generated  in  the 
earth ;  men  were  created  from  trees.  This  is  the  gradual 
development  of  organic  life.  The  nature  of  the  three  gods 
who  were  active  in  the  creation  of  man  is  particularly 
marked  by  their  respective  donations  to  the  trees,  that 
is,  to  organic  nature  in  its  first  development,  whereby  man 
is  distinguished  from  the  vegetable8. 

Bering  a  bushe  of  thornis  on  his  bake, 
Whiche  for  his  theft  might  clime  no  ner  the  heven. 
In  Ritson's  Ancient  Songs  (ecL  1790,  p.  35)  there  is  one  on  the  '  Mon 
in  the  Mone.' 

Shakspeare  also  mentions  him  and  his  bush : 

Steph.  I  was  the  man  in  the  moon,  when  time  was. 
Cal.      I  have  seen  thee  in  her,  and  I  do  adore  thee ; 

My  mistress  showed  me  thee,  and  thy  dog  and  thy  bush. 
Again  :  Tempest,  ii.  2. 

Quince One  must  come  in  with  a  bush  of  thorns  and  a  lantern, 

and  say,  he  comes  to  disfigure,  or  to  present,  the  person  of  moonshine. 

Mids.  Night's  Dream,  i.  3. 

For  Oriental  and  other  traditions  connected  with  the  man  in  the  moon, 
see  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  679. 

1  Grimm  calls  attention  to  the  apparent  connection  between  the  Lat. 
aquilo  and  aquila,  the  Gr.  ave/tos  and  deros,  from  the  root  aw,  drjfjn,  etc. 

2  Pages  9, 10.  2  Page  10. 


ILLUSTRATION. — ISavollr,  or  Ida's  plain  (whether  de 
rived  from  ift,  action,  or  from  the  dwarfs  name,  I$i,  gold, 
and  signifying  either  the  plain  of  action,  or  of  gold)  denotes 
a  heavenly,  bright  abode.  The  occupations  of  the  JSsir 
are  an  imitation  of  those  of  men.  To  forge  metals  was 
one  of  the  most  honourable  employments  of  a  freeman ; 
equally  so  was  the  game  of  tables.  To  play  at  tables 
signifies  simply  to  lead  a  life  of  enjoyment  and  happiness. 
Hence,  on  the  other  hand,  the  son  says  to  his  mother, 
Groa,  "Thou  didst  set  an  odious  play-board  before  me, 
thou  who  didst  embrace  my  father;"  that  is,  "thou  didst 
prepare  for  me  an  unhappy  life1."  With  respect  to  the 
three  maidens  from  Jotunheim,  opinions  have  been  much 
divided.  The  most  natural  interpretation  seems  to  me, 
that  they  were  the  three  Norns,  the  goddesses  of  fate. 
When  these  came,  the  attention  of  the  gods  became  di 
rected  to  that  which  should  yet  come  to  pass,  and  their 
hitherto  useless  energies  acquired  a  definite  object.  The 
Norns,  who  had  been  reared  among  the  giants,  must  also 
come  before  the  beings  were  created  who,  during  the  whole 
course  of  their  existence,  were  to  be  subjected  to  them. 
It  is,  moreover,  said  that  mankind  lay  like  senseless  trees, 
without  fate  and  destiny  (orlogslausir),  but  that  they  now 
got  fate  (orlb'g) .  Askr  is  the  ash  tree ;  what  tree  is  meant 
by  embla  is  doubtful. 

The  Northern  Mythology,  like  almost  every  other,  pre 
sents  us  with  three  equally  powerful  gods.  In  the  Gylfa- 
ginning  they  are  called  Har,  the  High;  Jafnhar,  the 
Equally  High ;  and  pri$i,  the  Third.  The  first  and  last 
of  these  are  also  surnames  of  Odin  •  it  might  otherwise 
seem  probable,  that  here,  where  they  are  opposed  to  King 
Gylfi,  and  the  scene  lies  in  Sweden,  the  three  chief  gods 
worshiped  at  Upsala,  Odin,  Thor,  and  Frey,  were  in 
tended.  At  the  creation  of  the  world,  the  three  active 

1  Grou-galdr,  Str.  3. 



deities  are  Odin,  Vili,  and  Ve,  who  are  brothers ;  at  the 
creation  of  mankind,  they  are  Odin,  Hcenir,  and  Lodur, 
who  are  not  brothers.  These  beings,  therefore,  denote 
several  kinds  of  the  divine  agency,  but  are  not  the  same. 
Odin's  name  shall  be  further  considered  hereafter ;  here 
we  will  merely  observe  that  it  bears  allusion  to  mind  or 
thought,  and  breathing;  it  is  the  quickening,  creating 
power.  Vili,  or  Vilir1,  is  the  Old  Norsk  expression  for 
will,  which,  if  referred  to  the  Sansk.  vel,  or  veil,  Gr.  etXew, 
Lat.  volo,  velle  (volvo),  would  denote  the  power  that  sets 
matter  in  motion.  Among  the  dwarfs  also  the  name  of 
Vili  occurs.  Ve  signifies  in  the  0.  Nor.  tongue,  a  place 
of  assembly,  with  the  idea  of  holiness  and  peace,  and  is  the 
root  of  at  vigja,  to  consecrate  (Goth,  veihs,  Ohg.  wih,  sacred-, 
Goth,  vaihts,  a  thing,  the  created,  consecrated;  0.  Nor. 
vsettr,  thing,  opp.  to  ovsettr,  a  monster).  It  expresses 
therefore  consecration,  that  is,  separation  from  the  evil, 
hurtful  or  disturbing.  Hence,  at  the  creation  of  the  world, 
Ve  operates  so  far  as  the  divine  power  obstructs  the  op 
posing  evil  matter,  that  would  not  yield  to  Thought  and 
Will.  Thus  explained,  Odin,  Vili  and  Ve  accurately  cor 
respond  to  the  Indian  trinity,  Trimurti,  and  the  three 
chief  Indian  gods,  Brahma,  Vishnu,  and  Siva,  the  creating, 
preserving,  and  judging  powers,  or  omnipotence,  goodness, 
and  justice.  As  Frigg  is  said  to  be  married  to  Odin,  Vili, 
and  Ve2,  so  is  the  primeval  mother  of  the  Indians,  Para- 
siakti,  represented  as  the  wife  of  the  three  first-created 
gods.  According  to  Finn  Magnusen,  Vili  is  light,  and 
Ve  fire,  whereby  it  is,  at  the  same  time,  assumed  that 
Vili  is  the  same  with  Hoenir,  and  Ve  with  Lodur.  At  the 
creation  of  man,  Odin  gave  ond,  Hoenir  6$,  Lodur  la  and 
litu  go^u.  Ond  signifies  spirit  or  breath,  the  intellectual 
or  physical  life;  6i$r  signifies  sense,  mind;  ond  and  6i$r 
are  to  each  other  as  anima  and  mens  (6$r  from  vaiSa,  vadere ; 

1  Ynglingas.  cc.  3,  5.  2  Page  32,  and  note. 


mens  from  meare) ;  oftr  is  then  the  outward  and  inward 
sense,  or  perception.  La  is  water,  fluid;  litr,  colour, 
whereby  allusion  is  made  to  the  circulation  of  the  blood 
and  the  vital  warmth  thereby  produced.  Here  then  are 
expressed  the  three  actions  of  animal  life :  to  breathe,  to 
perceive,  to  move  from  within.  The  derivation  of  Hcenir  is 
unknown.  He  is  called  Odin's  friend,  and  associate,  and 
fellow-traveller,  with  reference  to  the  close  connection 
between  perception  and  mind.  He  is  also  called  the  rapid 
As,  and  Long-foot,  in  allusion  to  the  far-reaching  activity 
of  perception  in  space ;  in  other  words,  Hcenir  operates  in 
space  as  Odin  does  in  time.  He  is  also  called  Aur-kon- 
lingr1,  king  of  matter2.  Loftr  (L63r)  is,  without  doubt, 
related  to  la,  blood,  litr,  colour,  A.  S.  wlite,  and  expresses 
the  motion  of  the  fluid  with  its  consequences,  vital  warmth 
and  colour. 

The  beings  different  from  men  are — besides  the  giants, 
the  oldest  of  all,  and  the  ^Esir,  who  created  heaven  and 
earth,  and  preserve  all  things — the  Elves  and  Vans  (Alfar 
and  Vanir)  3.  The  Elves  are  the  subordinate  powers  of 
nature  ;  some  of  them,  the  Light-elves  (Liosalfar)  are 
airy,  light  beings,  hovering  over,  and,  as  it  were,  protect 
ing  the  earth  :  in  other  words,  they  are  the  powers  that 
operate  on  all  that  thrives  in  air,  in  plants,  in  rivers,  and 
on  the  earth's  surface.  Others,  Dark-elves  (Dockalfar, 
Svartalfar),  dwell  in  the  bowels  of  the  earth,  and  are  nearly 
related  to,  if  not  identical  with,  the  Dwarfs,  or  powers 
that  work  in  stones,  earth,  metals  :  they  are  skilful  workers 
in  metal 4.  The  whole  transition  from  the  hard,  dark  stone, 
through  the  glittering  metals,  to  the  germinating  powers 
in  the  earth,  which  develop  themselves  in  the  fairest,  co 
loured,  fruitful  forms — the  plants — seems  represented  by 

1  From  aur,  argilla,  lutum.    Finn  Magnusen  (Lex.  Myth.  p.  464)  would 
read  6r-konungr,  sagittarum  rex,  from  or,  sagitta,  telum. 

2  Skaldskap.  15.  3  Pages  25,  14.  4  Page  38. 



the  gradual  transition  through  Dwarfs   (stones),  Swart- 
elves  (metals),  Dark-elves  (earth  and  mould),  Light-elves 
(plants).     Between  the  ^Esir  and  the  Elves  are  the  Vanir. 
Their  creation  is  nowhere  spoken  of;  they  are  the  powers 
of  the  sea  and  air  -,  as  active  beings  they  appear  only  in 
their  relation  to  the  .ZEsir  and  Elves,  that  is,  to  heaven  and 
earth.     They  made  war  against  and  concluded  peace  with 
the  ^Esir,  and  one  of  them,  Frey,  obtained  the  sovereignty 
over  the  Light-elves  l.     The  Vanir  rule  in  the  sea  and  air, 
encircling  the  whole  earth  in  a  higher  and  remoter  sphere. 
The  Light-elves  rule  in  the  rivers  and  air,  surrounding 
the  inhabited  earth  in  a  lower  and  more  contracted  sphere. 
ILLUSTRATION. — Besides  the  before-mentioned  appella 
tion  of  purs  (Goth.  )?aursus,  dry ;  }?aursjan,  to  thirst],  the 
giants  are  also  called  jotunn,  pi.  jotnar  (A.  S.  eoten,  Lat. 
edo,  edonis),  from  at  eta,  to  eat,  thus  signifying  the  vora 
cious,  greedy*.     These  beings  use  stones  and  fragments 
of  rock  as  weapons,  and,  within  the  mountains,  iron  bars 
also.     Among  the  common  people  the  belief  is  still  lively, 
how  mountains,  islands,  etc.  have  arisen  through  their 
wanderings,  how  they  hurled  vast  stones  and  rocks,  and 
how  they  fled  before  the  husbandmen.  The  giants  dwell  in 
large  caverns,  in  rocks  and  mountains,  and  are  intelligent 
and  wise,  for  all  nature  has  proceeded  from  them ;  vora 
cious,  large,  powerful,  proud,  insolent  3 :  were  it  not  for 

1  Page  25. 

2  Ic  mesan  maeg  •  meahtlicor  •  and  efan  eten  •  ealdum  )>yrre  (^yrse),  lean 
feast  and  also  eat  more  heartily  than  an  old  giant.     Cod.  Exon.  p.  425, 
1.  26-29. 

3  They  are  represented  as  having  many  hands  and  heads  :  Staerkodder 
had  six  arms ;  in  Skirnis-for  a  three-headed  Thurs  is  mentioned.    Of  their 
relative  magnitude  to  man  an  idea  may  be  formed  from  the  following. 
"  At  the  entrance  of  the  Black  forest,  ou  the  Hiinenkoppe,  there  dwelt  a 
giantess  (hiinin)  with  her  daughter.   The  latter  having  found  a  husband 
man  in  the  act  of  ploughing,  put  him  and  his  plough  and  his  oxen  into  her 
apron,  and  carried  the  '  little  fellow  with  his  kittens '  to  her  mother,  who 
angrily  bade  her  take  them  back  to  the  place  whence  she  had  taken  them, 


Thor,  they  would  get  the  mastery,,  but  he  stands  between 
them  and  heaven,  and  strikes  them  down  when  they  ap 
proach  too  near.  Like  nature,  which  is  still  or  agitated, 
the  giant  at  rest  is  blunt  and  good-humoured ;  but  when 
excited,  savage  and  deceitful.  This  latter  state  is  called 
jotun-moftr  (giant-mood)  in  contradistinction  to  as-mo^r 
(As-mood).  The  giantesses  are  sometimes  described  as 
large,  ugly,  and  misshapen,  like  the  giants ;  sometimes  as 
exceedingly  beautiful,  exciting  desire  among  the  gods,  who 
long  to  unite  with  them  in  marriage.  Such  a  one  was 
Gerd1.  Of  these  the  gygr  (pi.  gygjur)  is  represented  as 
inhabiting  mountain-caves,  and  guarding  the  descent 
through  them  to  the  nether  world.  Thus  it  is  related, 
that  Brynhild,  after  her  death,  when  on  the  way  to  Hel, 
came  to  a  giantess,  who  thus  addressed  her  :  "  Thou  shalt 
not  pass  through  my  courts  upheld  by  stone  2."  Such  a 
giantess  was  Saxo's  Harthgrepa3  (O.  Nor.  HarcSgreip). 
Thor  also  came  to  the  giantess  Grid,  the  mother  of  Vidar, 
on  his  way  to  Geirrod,  or  the  Iron-king  4.  Vidar,  as  we 
shall  see  hereafter,  ruled  in  a  wood  above  ground,  the 
giantess  dwelt  at  the  entrance  of  the  cavern,  Geirrod  in  its 
depth.  It  will  now  appear  what  is  meant  by  the  class  of 
giantesses  called  Jarnviftjur  (sing.  Jarnviftja).  These 
dwelt  in  the  JarnvrSr  (Iron  wood),  where  Fenrir's  offspring 
were  brought  forth,  the  wolves  that  will  swallow  the  sun 
and  moon  5,  and  cause  calamity  above,  as  the  wolf  Fenrir 
in  the  deep.  Jarnsaxa,  one  of  HeimdalFs  mothers,  was  of 
this  number  6.  The  lord  of  this  impenetrable  forest  was 
Vidar.  In  all  this  dead  inert  nature  seems  to  be  depicted, 

adding,  '  They  belong  to  a  race  that  can  inflict  great  injury  to  the  giants.' " 
See  Grimm,  D.  M.,  p.  506,  where  other  examples  are  given  ;  see  also  the 
story  of  Thor's  journey  to  Jotunheim. 

1  Page  46.    '  2  HelreiS  Brynhildar,  Str.  1. 

3  Page  36,  ed.  Miiller,  Skaldskap.  p.  210.  4  Skaldskap.p.  113. 

*  Page  7.  6  Page  28. 


but  at  the  same  time,  how  it  is  subjected  to  the  higher 
power  of  the  gods,  who,  as  soon  as  they  came  into  exist 
ence,  began  and  ever  continue  to  operate  on  it.  And  in 
general,  it  must  be  remarked,  that  the  giants  are  not 
merely  beings  dwelling  in  Utgard,  or  on  the  edge  of  the 
earth,  but  are  all  nature,  in  opposition  to  the  gods. 

THE  VANIR. — Their  name  is  to  be  traced  in  the  adjec 
tive  vanr,  empty,  vanus',  though  they  rule  also  in  the 
water.  In  all  the  Gothic  and  Slavonian  tongues  a  relation 
ship  is  found  between  the  denominations  of  wind  and 
water  and  weather.  That  the  Vanir  ruled  over  the  sea 
appears  manifestly  from  Niord;  that  they  ruled  in  the 
air  may  be  inferred  from  their  seeing  Gna  riding  in  the 
air  l. 

THE  ELVES  AND  DWARFS  are  not  clearly  distinguished 
from  each  other.  The  Light-elves  border  on  the  Vanir, 
the  Dark-  or  Swart-elves  on  the  dwarfs.  According  to 
the  popular  belief,  the  elves  (elle-folk)  dwell  by  rivers,  in 
marshes,  and  on  hills ;  they  are  a  quiet,  peaceful  race. 
The  etymon  of  the  word  dvergr  (durgr),  dwarf,  is  un 
known,  but  their  habitation  in  stones,  down  in  the  earth, 
and  their  occupation  in  smith's  work,  remove  all  doubt  as 
to  their  nature.  They  were  created  from  the  earth,  or 
YimVs  body2.  The  name  of  their  chief  Modsognir  signifies 
the  strength-  or  sap-sucker  •  the  second,  Durin,  the  slum 
bering,  from  diir,  slumber.  From  Lofar,  the  graceful, 
comely  (?)  descend  those  of  the  race  of  Dvalin  (torpor).  It 
was  this  family  that  wandered  from  their  rocky  halls, 
where  they  lay  in  a  torpid  state  (i  dvala),  over  the  clay- 
field,  to  Jura's  plains.  If  the  word  Jora  be  here  taken  in 
its  usual  acceptation  of  conflict,  then  by  joru-vellir  will  be 
meant  fields  of  contest,  men's  habitations ;  but,  at  all  events, 
the  contest  shows  that  the  development  of  nature  is  here 
intended,  from  the  lifeless  stone,  through  the  fertile  earth, 
1  Page  35.  2  Page  9. 


to  the  plant  and  tree ;  so  that  these  beings  seem  to  have 
presided  over  the  transition  from  unorganic  to  organic  na 
ture.  To  this  interpretation  their  names,  as  far  as  we  can 
explain  them,  are  particularly  favourable  :  Moinn,  earth- 
dweller ;  Draupnir,  the  dripper,  or  former  of  drops ;  Gloi, 
the  glowing,  glittering,  giver  of  colour ;  HlioSalfr,  the  elf  of 
sound.  The  dwarfs  work  in  the  service  of  the  gods,  and 
their  productions  are  emblems  of  the  different  agencies  of 
nature.  Of  these  the  sons  of  Ivaldi  are  particularly  named,, 
who  made  the  artificial  hair  of  Sif,  the  ship  Skidbladnir 
for  Frey,  and  the  spear  Gungnir  for  Odin  •  while  Sindri 
and  Brock  made  Frey's  hog  with  golden  bristles,  the  ring 
Draupnir  and  the  hammer  Miolnir1.  Thus  they  wrought 
both  in  the  vegetable  kingdom  and  in  metals.  Odin,  it  is 
said,  cut  or  engraved  runes  for  the  ^Esir,  Dvalin  for  the 
elves,  Dam  for  the  dwarfs  2.  That  the  elves  and  dwarfs 
are  blended  together,  appears  not  only  from  this  passage, 
where  Dvalin,  a  dwarf,  is  named  as  the  teacher  of  the 
elves,  but  from  the  list  of  names  in  the  Voluspa.  Without 
the  earth,  we  meet  with  the  dwarfs  Northri,  Suthri,  Austri, 
and  Vestri,  the  four  cardinal  points  of  the  compass ;  also 
Nyi  and  Nithi,  the  increasing  and  waning  moon,  mere 
ideas,  which  are  referred  to  the  dwarfs  as  representing  the 
subordinate  powers  3. 

THERE  ARE  NINE  WOLRDS4,  and  as  beings  inhabiting 
them,  the  following  are  named :  ^Esir,  Vanir,  Men,  Elves, 
Dwarfs,  Jotuns,  Halir,  or  inhabitants  of  Helheim.  These 
nine  worlds  are,  1.  Muspellheim,  the  furthest  towards  the 
south,  inhabited  by  Surt  and  MuspelFs  sons  :  it  is  the 
highest  heaven,  with  light,  warmth  and  fire,  and  older 
than  either  heaven  or  earth ;  2.  Asgard  or  Godheim,  the 

1  Pages  38,  39.  2  RUnatals)>.  0>ins,  Str.  6. 

3  Page  5.     It  is  singular,  what  Keyser  remarks,  that  the  Eddas  omit  all 
mention  of  the  creation  of  animals. 

4  Alvismal,  Str.  9. 


world  of  the  ^Esir  or  gods,  heaven ;  3.  Vanaheim,  or 
the  abode  of  the  Vanir,  4.  Midgard  or  Manheim,  the 
world  of  men,  the  middlemost  inhabited  part  of  the  earth  ; 

5.  Alfheim,    or   Lios-alfheim,    inhabited   by   the   elves  ; 

6.  Svart-alfheim,  inhabited  by  swart-elves   and  dwarfs ; 

7.  Jotunheim,  or  Utgard,  inhabited  by  jotuns  or  giants, 
the  uttermost  boundary  of  the  earth ;  8.  Helheim,  inha 
bited  by  those  dead  who  go  to  Hel,  the  world  of  spectres  ; 
9.  Niflheim,  the  world  of  mist,  the  furthest  north,  and  the 
nethermost,  uninhabited,  older  than  heaven  and  earth  *. 

ILLUSTRATION. — The  nine  worlds  mentioned  in  the 
Alvismal  must  not  be  confounded  with  the  nine  over  which 
the  gods  gave  dominion  to  Hel,  which  are  identical  with 
the  nine  worlds  below  Niflheim,  where  the  Halir  or  sub 
jects  of  Hel  wander  about 2.  She  acquired  the  dominion 
over  a  portion  of  Niflheim,  and  that  she  had  nine  worlds 
to  rule  over,  means  simply  that  her  realm  was  boundless. 
Some  explain  the  nine  worlds  thus  :  1 .  Muspellheim,  the 
abode  of  MuspelPs  sons  ;  2.  Alfheim,  of  the  Light-elves  ; 
3.  Godheim,  of  the  ^Esir;  4.  Vanaheim,  of  the  Vanir ; 
5.  Vindheim,  of  souls ;  6.  Manheim,  of  men  ;  7.  Jotun- 
heim,  of  giants;  8.  Myrkheim,  of  dwarfs;  9.  Niflheim, 
of  spectres.  But  Vindheim  is  the  same  as  Vanaheim,  and 
is  not  inhabited  by  souls,  who  go  either  to  Valhall  or  to 
Hel.  Others  place  Alfheim,  or  Lios-alfheim,  either,  as 
here,  after  Muspellheim,  or  even  above  it.  This  colloca 
tion  is  founded  on  Gylfaginning  17,  where,  in  speaking  of 
the  heavenly  dwellings,  after  mention  made  of  Gimli,  it  is 
said  that  there  is  a  heaven,  Andlang,  above  Gimli,  and 
above  that  another,  VrSblain  (wide-blue) ;  ' ( and  we  be 
lieve  that  the  Light-elves  alone  now  inhabit  those  places." 
But  the  text  of  Snorri  seems  to  have  been  here  made  up 
by  additions  at  different  times;  for  the  state  of  things  there 
alluded  to  is  evidently  what  is  to  take  place  after  Ragna- 
1  Page  3.  2  Page  50.  Vafkudnism,  Str.  43. 


rock;  as  not  until  then  will  either  good  men  inhabit 
Gimli,  or  the  elves  Andlang  and  Viftblain.  Not  until 
after  Ragnarock,  will  men,  elves,  and  giants,  the  beings 
who  till  then  had  dwelt  on  earth,  come  to  their  heavenly 
abodes.  This  is,  moreover,  clear  from  the  circumstance, 
that  not  till  the  conclusion  of  the  chapter  above-mentioned 
of  Gylfaginning,  is  there  any  mention  of  the  heavens, 
Andlang  and  Vidblain,  but  previously  the  abode  of  the 
Light-elves  in  Alfheim  is  spoken  of. 

HEAVEN  AND  EARTH. — The  ideas  of  these  are  formed 
in  accordance  with  their  seeming  figure.  Outermost  was 
the  ocean,  on  which  Utgard  bordered.  In  the  middle  of. 
the  earth  was  Midgard.  Above  all  Asgard  raised  its 
head,  first  on  earth,  but  afterwards,  it  would  seem,  trans 
ferred  to  heaven.  This  scheme  is  a  perfect  image  of  the 
Thing,  or  popular  assembly,  around  the  king's  exalted 
seat.  He  was  immediately  encircled  by  his  priests  and 
officials  as  Odin  by  the  .ZEsir.  Without  them  stood  the 
people  or  free  men ;  outermost  of  all  was  the  circle  of 
thralls.  In  like  manner  the  holy  offering- tree,  with  its 
three  branches  and  its  sacred  spring,  whence  oracles  were 
issued,  was  transferred  to  heaven.  By  one  of  YggdrasiPs 
roots  are  the  spring  and  dwelling  of  the  Norns  l,  like  the 
priestesses  or  Valas  on  earth.  There  the  will  of  the  fates 
is  to  be  learned,  to  which  even  the  gods  themselves  are 
subjected ;  by  another  of  its  roots  is  Mimir's  spring  13 
where  is  the  wisdom  of  the  deep  ;  by  the  third  root  are 
serpents,  herein  also  resembling  the  earthly  tree,  by  which 
serpents  were  fed.  Between  the  giants  and  the  gods  there 
is  a  river  named  Ifing,  which  never  freezes2,  that  is,  the 
atmosphere ;  but  from  the  abode  of  men  a  bridge  leads 
up  to  the  latter,  herein  again  resembling  the  earthly 
temples,  built  probably  on  an  isle,  and  accessible  only  over 
a  sacred  bridge.  The  guardian  of  the  bridge  was  Heim- 
1  Page  12.  2  Page  11. 

H  5 


dall,  who  from  the  river  Gioll,  the  horizon,  raised  his 
Giallar-horn,  which  is  kept  under  the  tree  Yggdrasil1. 
But  there  was  another  guardian,  Mimir,  at  the  descent 
into  the  nether  world,  at  the  junction  of  heaven  and  sea, 
in  the  north,  as  the  abode  of  night,  and  the  region  where 
the  inhabitants  of  the  North  found  the  country  surrounded 
by  the  sea.  The  spring  of  the  Norns  is  that  of  super 
human  wisdom,  MirmYs  that  of  sublunary.  Odin  must 
possess  both.  With  his  one  eye,  the  sun,  he  saw  all  that 
passed  in  heaven  and  on  earth;  but  the  secrets  of  the 
deep  he  must  learn,  either  by  sinking,  as  the  sun,  into  the 
sea,  or  by  getting  possession  of  Mimir's  head,  as  the  seat 
of  subterranean  wisdom. 

ILLUSTRATION. —  Ifing. — The  name  of  this  river  seems 
derived  from  the  verb  at  ifa,  which  now  signifies  to  doubt, 
though  the  primitive  idea  has  probably  been  to  totter,  to 
move  from  place  to  place  j  Ifing  will  then  signify  that  which 
is  in  constant  motion,  like  the  air,  which  also  never  freezes. 
Bifrost  is  the  rainbow,  from  at  bifa,  to  tremble^  swing,  and 
rost,  a  measure  of  length,  mile.  Yggdrasil  has  never  been 
satisfactorily  explained2.  But  at  all  events,  the  sacred  tree 
of  the  North  is,  no  doubt,  identical  with  the '  robur  Jovis/ 

1  Page  29. 

2  The  ash  Yggdrasil  is  an  emblem  of  all  living  nature.    The  name  is 
obscure,  but  may  be  explained.   Ygg's,  i.  e.  Odin's,  horse,  seat,  or  chariot, 
from  Ygg,  a  name  of  Odin,  and  drasill  or  drosull,  from  draga,  to  dear,  &c. 
Living  nature  is  regarded  as  moved  and  ruled  by  the  divine  power,  which 
has  its  seat  in  it  as  the  soul  in  the  body.     The  word  thus  explained  is  in 
perfect  accordance  with  the  old  skaldic  notions,  and  the  myth  seems  a 
poetic  allegory  throughout.     The  image  accords  with  their  cosmogony. 
In  the  tree's  top  sits  an  eagle,  the  emblem  of  spirit  or  life ;  at  its  root  in 
Hvergelmir  lies  Nidhbgg,  the  serpent  of  darkness  and  death;  but  the 
squirrel  Ratatbsk  runs  up  and  down  the  trunk,  carrying  rancorous  words 
between  the  eagle  and  the  serpent ;  i.  e.  contending  powers  move  in  nature, 
and  false  malice  steals  with  its  calumny  through  human  life,  and  disturbs 
its  peace.     The  fundamental  idea  seems  to  be  the  great  strife  that  per 
vades  worldly  life,  the  strife  between  spirit  and  matter,  good  and  evil,  life 
and  death.    Keyser,  Relig.  Forfatn.  pp.  24,  25. 


or  sacred  oak  of  Geismar,  destroyed  by  Boniface1,  and  the 
Irminsul  of  the  Saxons2,  the  Columna  universalis,  the  ter 
restrial  tree  of  offerings,  an  emblem  of  the  whole  world, 
as  far  as  it  is  under  divine  influence.  The  giant-powers 
and  the  children  of  death  are  not  overshadowed  by  it.  But 
the  gods,  as  well  as  mortals,  must  have  their  offering-tree, 
and  one  naturally  of  far  greater  magnitude.  The  animals 
described  as  living  in  the  tree,  bear,  without  doubt,  an 
allusion  to  real  symbols  on  the  terrestrial  one ;  but  un 
fortunately  nothing  worthy  to  be  called  a  description  of 
this  tree  has  reached  our  time.  There  was  on  it  a  sort  of 
weathercock,  which  is,  perhaps,  alluded  to  by  the  hawk 
Vedurfolnir.  As  from  the  ash  Yggdrasil  three  roots  issue 
in  different  directions,  so  from  the  Irminsul  proceeded 
three  or  four  great  highways.  According  to  the  old  scho 
liast  on  Adam  of  Bremen,  such  a  tree — which  was  green 
both  summer  and  winter — stood  near  the  ancient  temple 
at  Upsala ;  near  which  was  the  sacred  spring,  into  which 
the  offerings  were  sunk3.  Ratatosk  is  a  name  of  very 
doubtful  etymon.  Finn  Magnusen  would  derive  it  from 
at  rata,  vagari,  and  tauta,  susurrare,  therefore  (an  animal) 
going  up  and  down,  whispering  tales  of  strife  between  the 
serpent  and  the  eagle.  The  names  of  the  four  harts  are 
also  the  names  of  dwarfs,  viz.  Dam,  swooning;  Dvalin, 
torpid;  Duneyr,  the  noisy,  maker  of  din?  Durathror,  the 
door-breaker  ?  Nidhogg  (of  very  doubtful  etymon)  is  the 
gnawing  serpent.  The  whole  tree  and  its  inmates  are  sig 
nificant,  but  an  allegorical  interpretation  of  them  is  no 
longer  possible.  The  myth  is  both  Indian  and  Lamaic. 
It  is  the  tree  of  life,  which  gathers  around  it  all  higher 

1  Grimm,  D.  M.  pp.  62,  63,  from  Willibaldi  Vita  Bonifacii. 

2  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  106,  who  gives  the  following  passage  from  Ruodolf  of 
Fulda :  "  Truncum  ligni  non  parvse  magnitudinis  in  altum  erectum  sub  divo 
colebant,  patria  eum  lingua  Irminsul  appellantes,  quod  Latine  dicitur  uni 
versalis  columna,  quasi  sustinens  omnia." 

Ed.  Lindenbr.  p.  61. 


creatures  in  one  worship,  as  the  earthly  offering-tree 
assembled  all  followers  of  the  same  faith  under  its  over 
shadowing  branches. 

The  goddesses  of  fate  are  called  Noras1.  The  word 
Norn  does  not  occur  in  any  kindred  dialect.  They  decide 
the  fate  of  the  hero,  while  they  twist  or  spin  the  threads 
of  destiny,  and  the  extent  of  his  dominion,  by  fastening 
and  stretching  it  from  one  quarter  of  the  earth  to  another2 ; 
and  herein  they  resemble  the  spinning  Molpai,  or  Fame, 
only  that  the  Northern  picture  is  more  comprehensive. 
Their  functions  are  to  point  out,  show,  and  to  determine ; 
they  show  or  make  known  that  which  was  destined  from 
the  beginning,  and  determine  that  which  shall  take  place 
in  time.  Of  the  Fylgiur  and  Hamingiur,  a  sort  of  guard 
ian  angels,  that  accompany  every  mortal  from  the  cradle 
to  the  grave,  we  have  already  spoken3.  Nearly  allied  to, 
and  almost  identical  with  the  Norns,  are  the  Valkyriur. 
They  are  also  called  Valmeyiar  (battle-maids),  Skialdmeyiar 
(shield-maids),  Hialmmeyiar  (helm- maids),  and  Oskmeyiar, 
from  their  attendance  on  Odin,  one  of  whose  names  is 
Oski.  They  spin  and  weave  like  the  Norns.  In  Nials- 
saga4  we  read  that  Darrad  (DorrirSr)  looking  through  a 
chasm  in  a  rock,  saw  women  singing  and  weaving,  with 
human  heads  for  weights,  entrails  for  woof  and  warp, 
swords  for  bobbins,  and  arrows  for  comb.  In  their  appal 
ling  song  they  designated  themselves  Valkyriur,  and  an 
nounced  that  their  web  was  that  of  the  looker-on,  Darrad. 
At  last  they  tore  their  work  in  fragments,  mounted  their 
horses,  and  six  rode  southwards,  and  six  northwards5. 

The  origin  of  the  name  of  Mimir  is  unknown,  and  the 

1  Page  12.  2  Helgakv.  Hundingsb.  en  fyrri,  Str.  2-4. 

3  Pages  113,  115.  4  Cap.  158. 

5  On  this  Grimm  (p.  397)  not  inaptly  observes:  "  So  at  least  may  be 
understood  the  words  '  vindum  vindum  vef  Darraftar,'  though  the  whole 
story  may  have  its  origin  in  a  '  vef  darra'Sar '  (tela  jaculij.  Comp.  A.  S. 
darrot>,  a  dart"  The  story  has  been  beautifully  versified  by  Gray. 


myth  concerning  him  differs  in  the  several  sources.  Ac 
cording  to  the  Ynglinga-saga 1,  he  was  slain  by  the  Vanir2, 
but  of  his  fate  no  traces  are  to  be  found  in  either  Edda. 
There  was  a  tree  apparently  connected  with  Mimir,  called 
Miotviftr,  which  is  usually  rendered  by  Middle  tree,  and 
is  considered  identical  with  Yggdrasil ;  but  Mimir  dwelt 
under  Yggdrasil' s  root.  In  the  Voluspa3,  the  context 
evidently  shows  that  the  nether  world  is  spoken  of;  here 
MiotvrSr  appears  manifestly  to  signify  the  tree  of  know 
ledge4.  In  the  obscure  Fiolsvinnsmal5,  MimamerSr  (Mi 
mir' s  tree)  is  spoken  of,  which  spreads  itself  round  all  lands, 
is  not  injured  by  fire  or  iron,  but  few  only  know  from  what 
roots  it  springs;  neither  then  is  this  Yggdrasil,  whose 
roots  are  known.  In  the  following  strophes  it  appears 
that  it  went  deep  down  to  the  nethermost  region  of  earth. 
Here  mention  is  also  made  of  Thrymgioll6,  a  gate  or  lattice, 
made  by  Solblindi's  (Night's)  three  sons.  The  meaning 
of  all  which  seems  to  be,  that,  besides  the  heavenly  tree, 
Yggdrasil,  there  was  a  tree  under  the  earth,  whose  roots 
were  lost  in  the  abyss,  and  whose  top  spread  itself  in  the 
horizon  around  all  lands,  on  the  limit  of  the  upper  and 
nether  worlds ;  and  it  was  on  this  tree  that  Odin  hung 
for  nine  nights,  of  whose  roots  no  one  had  knowledge7. 
The  rivers  Gioll  and  Leipt  flow  near  to  men,  and  thence 
to  Hel8.  Gioll  (Ger.  Gall  =  Schall)  signifies  sound;  it 
probably  means  the  horizon,  and  has  reference  to  the 
popular  belief  of  the  sun's  sound,  when  it  goes  down9,  and 
when  it  rises,  or  when  day  breaks  forth.  Leipt — the  name 
of  the  other  river —  signifies  lightning,  flash.  Both  words 
may  then  denote  the  glittering  stripe  of  the  horizon. 

i  Cap.  4.  2  Str.  2,  47.  3  Str.  50. 

4  Page  79.  s  Str.  20,  21.  6  Str.  10,  11. 

7  RunatalsK  Str.  1.  8  Grimnism.  Str.  28. 

9  '  The  skreik  of  day.'  Hunter's  Hallamshire  Glossary.  Our  '  break 
of  day.'  (?)  See  Grimm's  remarks  on  the  A.  S.  word  woma  (da3g-woma, 
d£egred-\v6ma)  in  '  Andreas  und  Elene,'  p.  xxx.  and  D.  M.  pp.  131, 132. 


Mimir  is  also  called  Hoddmimir ],  which  has  been  rendered 
Circle-Mimir  or  Sphere- Mimir }  as  alluding  to  the  circle 
of  the  horizon.  Awaiting  the  regeneration  of  mankind, 
the  original  matter  of  the  new  human  race  will  be  pre 
served  in  Hoddmimir's  holt  or  wood2.  This  explanation 
is  confirmed  by  the  SolarljoiS3,  where  it  is  said,  "in  full 
horns  they  drank  the  pure  mead  from  the  ring-  (circle-) 
god's  fountain."  According  to  a  popular  belief  in  Ger 
many,  Denmark  and  England,  a  golden  cup,  or  hidden 
treasure  lies  where  the  rainbow  apparently  touches  the 
horizon.  This  seems  a  remnant  of  the  belief  in  Mimir's 
spring,  in  which  wisdom's  golden  treasure  was  con 

War  burst  forth  in  the  world  when  men  pierced  Gull- 
veig  (gold)  through  with  their  spears,  and  burnt  her  in 
the  high  one's  hall5.  That  is,  when  they  hammered  and 
forged  gold,  and  bestowed  on  it  a  certain  value,  then  the 

1  It  is  far  from  certain  that  Mimir  and  Hoddmimir  are  identical. 

2  Page  84.  3  Str.  56. 

4  The  name  Mimir  signifies  having  knowledge,  and  seems  identical  with 
A.  S.  meomer,  Lat.  memor.     The  giants,  who  are  older  than  the  ^Esir, 
saw  further  into  the  darkness  of  the  past.     They  had  witnessed  the  cre 
ation  of  the  jEsir  and  of  the  world,  and  foresaw  their  destruction.     On 
both  points  the  ^Esir  must  seek  knowledge  from  them,  a  thought  repeat 
edly  expressed  in  the  old  mythic  poems,  but  nowhere  more  clearly  than 
in  the  Voluspa,  in  which  a  Vala  or  prophetess,  reared  among  the  giants, 
is  represented  rising  from  the  deep  to  unveil  time  past  and  future  to  gods 
and  men.     It  is  then  this  wisdom  of  the  deep  that  Mimir  keeps  in  his 
well.    The  heavenly  god  Odin  himself  must  fetch  it  thence,  and  this  takes 
place  in  the  night,  when  the  sun,  heaven's  eye,  is  descended  behind  the 
brink  of  the  disk  of  earth  into  the  giants'  world.    Then  Odin  explores  the 
secrets  of  the  deep,  and  his  eye  is  there  pledged  for  the  drink  he  obtains 
from  the  fount  of  knowledge.     But  in  the  brightness  of  dawn,  when  the 
sun  again  ascends  from  the  giants'  world,  then  does  the  guardian  of  the 
fount  drink  from  a  golden  horn  the  pure  mead  that  flows  over  Odin's 
pledge.     Heaven  and  the  nether  world  communicate  mutually  their  wis 
dom  to  each  other.   Through  a  literal  interpretation  of  the  foregoing  myth 
Odin  is  represented  as  one-eyed.     Keyser,  Relig.  Forfatn.  pp.  25,  26. 

5  Page  14. 


idea  of  property  arose,  a  distinction  between  mine  and 
thine,  and  Heidi  (Heijri,  from  herSr,  honour,  dignity)  or 
riches  awakened  desire. 

Odin  is  Allfather,  the  universal  ruler  over  all,  his  nature 
is,  therefore,  manifold.  He  is  the  world's  creator,  the 
father  of  time,  the  lord  of  gods  and  men,  and  of  all  nature, 
the  god  of  heaven,  the  king  of  the  year,  the  god  of  war, 
and  giver  of  victory.  He  operates  through  heaven  and 
earth,  but,  at  the  same  time,  allies  himself  with  the  giants 
and  powers  of  the  deep,  as  the  spirit  that  operates  through 
out  the  material  world.  And  from  all  these  relations  his 
sons  proceed,  who  are  a  part  of  his  essence.  He  is  heaven ; 
his  eye,  the  sun,  looks  out  over  all  on  earth,  and  at  night 
beholds  all  in  the  deep.  He  has  connection  with  Earth, 
and  becomes  the  father  of  Thor,  the  thunder.  He  who 
quickens  all  nature  has  intercourse  with  the  giant  powers, 
and  begets  the  unperishing  Vidar1.  As  god  of  time  and 
king  of  the  year,  he  with  Frigg2  begets  Baldur3,  the 
bright  summer.  Hod  also,  the  dark  nights  of  winter,  who 
slays  Baldur4,  and  Vali5,  the  forthcoming  new  year,  who 
avenges  him,  are  likewise  his  children.  As  lord  of  the 
intellectual  world  he  is  father  of  Bragi6,  the  god  of  elo 
quence  and  poetry.  As  god  of  war,  or  father  of  hosts 
(HeriafoiSr),  he  begets  Hermod7,  the  spirit,  who  goes  on 
his  messages ;  sends  Ty6,  the  god  of  valour  and  honour, 
into  the  heat  of  battle  j  and  his  maidens,  the  Valkyriur, 
choose  the  heroes  that  shall  be  his  guests  in  Valhall,  the 
hall  of  the  chosen.  He  is  the  heavenly  image  of  earthly 
kings,  surrounded  by  his  men,  the  ^Esir,  with  his  skald, 
Bragi6,  and  his  supreme  judge,  Forseti8.  As  ruler  of 
heaven,  he  dwells  in  Valaskialf 9,  and  sits  on  a  throne  in 
Hlidskialf9.  As  the  Einheriar's  prince,  he  dwells  in  Glads- 

1  Pages  29,  84.  2  Page  31.  3  Page  22. 

4  Pages  29,  74.  5  Page  76.  6  Page  28. 

7  Page  21.  8  Page  30.  9  Page  11. 


heim1,  and  gathers  them  around  him  in  Valhall.  As  king 
of  mind,  he  daily  visits  Saga,  the  goddess  of  history,  in 
her  abode,  Sockquabeck2 ;  and  this,  his  mental  dominion, 
is  further  indicated  by  his  ravens,  Hugin  and  Munin3 
(thought  and  memory).  Odin  is  described  as  a  tall,  one- 
eyed  old  man,  with  a  long  beard,  a  broad-brimmed  hat,  a 
wide,  blue  or  variegated,  rough  cloak,  with  a  spear  (Gung- 
nir)  in  his  hand,  and  the  ring  Draupnir  on  his  arm.  On 
his  shoulders  sit  his  two  ravens,  his  two  wolves  lie  at  his 
feet,  and  Charles's  wain  rolls  above  his  head.  He  sits  on 
a  high  seat  (as  he  was  represented  at  Upsala),  whence  he 
sees  over  the  whole  world. 

The  following  account  of  his  appearing  to  King  Olaf 
Tryggvason  is  particularly  interesting. 

"  The  first  evening  that  King  Olaf  kept  Easter  at  Og- 
valdsnses,  there  came  an  old  man,  of  very  shrewd  discourse, 
one-eyed,  of  sombre  look,  and  with  a  broad-brimmed  hat. 
He  entered  into  conversation  with  the  king,  who  found 
great  pleasure  in  talking  with  him,  for  he  could  give 
information  of  all  countries  both  ancient  and  modern.  The 
king  asked  him  about  Ogvald,  after  whom  the  naze  and 
the  dwelling  were  called,  and  the  old  man  told  him  about 
Ogvald  and  the  cow  that  he  worshiped,  seasoning  his 
narrative  with  old  proverbs.  Having  thus  sat  until  late 
in  the  night,  the  bishop  reminded  the  king  that  it  was 
time  to  retire  to  rest.  But  when  Olaf  was  undressed  and 
had  lain  down  in  bed,  the  old  guest  came  again  and  sat 
on  the  footstool,  and  again  conversed  long  with  him ;  for 
the  longer  he  spoke  the  longer  did  Olaf  wish  to  hear  him. 
The  bishop  then  again  reminded  the  king  that  it  was 
time  to  sleep.  Unwilling  as  he  was,  for  he  was  very  loth 
to  end  their  conversation,  he  nevertheless  laid  his  head 
on  the  pillow,  and  the  guest  departed.  Scarcely  however 
was  the  king  awake,  before  his  first  thought  was  his  guest, 
1  Page  11.  2  Page  34.  3  page  19< 


whom  he  ordered  to  be  called,  but  he  was  nowhere  to  be 
found.  It  now  was  made  known  that  while  preparations 
were  making  for  the  feast,  there  came  an  elderly  man, 
whom  no  one  knew,  to  the  cook,  and  said  they  were  cook 
ing  some  bad  meat,  and  that  it  was  not  fitting  to  set  such 
on  the  king's  table  on  so  great  a  festival;  and  there 
upon  gave  him  two  thick,  fat  sides  of  an  ox,  which  he 
cooked  with  the  other  meat.  The  king  commanded  them  to 
burn  the  whole  together,  to  cast  the  ashes  into  the  sea,  and 
prepare  some  other  food ;  for  it  was  now  manifest  to  him 
that  the  guest  was  the  false  Odin,  in  whom  the  heathens 
had  so  long  believed,  and  whose  tricks  he  now  saw1/' 

ILLUSTRATION. — The  name  Odin  (OSinn,  Ohg.  Wu- 
otan)  has  been  satisfactorily  interpreted.  It  is  derived 
from  vafta,  to  go,  Lat.  vadere,  pret.  63,  or  strictly,  vo$ ; 
whence  the  double  participle  oiSinn  and  6$r,  the  impetuous 
disposition  or  mind.  Hence  it  denotes  the  all-pervading, 
spiritual  godhead.  In  accordance  with  this  interpretation 
are  the  words  of  Adam  of  Bremen :  "  Wodan,  id  est, 
fortior"  (furor?).  In  the  Grisons,  Wut  signifies  idol. 
The  Wiithendes  Heer  (Wild  Hunt)  of  the  Germans  is 
ascribed  to  Odin.  To  the  god  of  war  the  name  is  also 
appropriate,  as  at  vafta  uppa  signifies  to  attack  in  battle. 
He  pervades  not  only  the  living,  but  the  dead.  Nine 
songs  of  power  (fimbul-lioft)  he  learned  from  Bolthorn, 
Bestla's  father2 ;  obtained  possession  of  Mimir's  head3,  arid 
embraced  Gunnlod4;  he  is  likewise  the  lord  of  spectres 
(drauga  drottinn)5.  It  is  also  said,  that  by  the  aid  of  cer 
tain  incantations,  sung  by  the  dwarf  Thiodreyrir,  the  ^Esir 
acquired  power  or  strength  (afl),  the  elves  fame,  advance 
ment,  prosperity  (frami),  Hroptatyr  or  Odin  thought,  re- 
flection  (hyggia)6.  Odin's  oldest  habitation  was  Valaskialf, 

1  Saga  Olafs  Tryggv.  quoted  by  Petersen,  N.  M.,  p.  161. 

2  Runtals>.  Str.  3,  and  page  4.  3  Page  15. 

4  Page  42.  5  Page  15,  note5.  6  RunatalsJ*.  Str.  23. 


which  he  built  for  himself  in  the  beginning  of  time1.    The 
signification  of  this  word  is  extremely  doubtful.     Grimm 
is  inclined  to  consider  the  first  part  of  the  compound  as 
identical  with  Val  in  Valhall,  Valkyria,  and  bearing  an 
allusion  to  Odin's  own  name  of  ValfaSir ;  skialf  (which  sig 
nifies  tremor)  he  regards  as  expressing  the  trembling  mo 
tion  of  the  air,  like  the  first  syllable  of  Bifrost2.     Another 
derivation  is  from  the  verb  at  vsela,   to  build  with  art, 
whence  comes  the  participle  valr,  artificially  built,  round, 
vaulted*.     This  interpretation  is,  moreover,  corroborated 
by  a  passage  in  the  Grimnismal4.     Skialf  may  also  be  in 
terpreted  bench,  seat,  shelf.     His  throne  in  Valaskialf  was 
Hlidskialf  (from  li$,   door,   window,    lid)    and   skialf   as 
above.     As  god  of  war,  Odin's  abode  was  in  Gladsheim 
(the  home  of  gladness  and  splendour).     There  is  his  hall 
Valhall  (from  valr,  the  fallen  in  battle),  of  kindred  origin 
with  the  first  syllable  in  Valkyria;  a  chooser  (fern.)  of  the 
fallen.     Here  we  meet  with  the  goat  Heidrun  (from  herSr, 
clear,  serene,  and  renna,  to  run,  flow),  that  is,   the  clear, 
heavenhj  air,  whence  mead  comes,  like  honey- dew,  from 
YggdrasiPs  top.     By  the  goat  may  possibly  be  typified 
the  whiteness  and  abundance  of  sustenance.     The  tree 
Lserad  (that  which  produces  Ise  or  calm)  signifies  the  higher 
region  of  the  air,  where  the  winds  do  not  rage.     Under 
the  emblem  of  Eikthyrnir,  the  oak-t horned  stag  (from  eik, 
oak,  and  J?orn,  thorn),  are  represented  the  branches  of  the 
tree,  that  project  like  the  antlers  of  a  stag.    From  its  horn 
flow  many  rivers,  which  are  enumerated  in  the  Grimnis 
mal,  of  which  some  flow  near  the  gods,  others  near  men, 
and  thence  to  Hel.     Of  those  that  flow  near  the  gods, 
some  are  designated  the  deep,  the  wide,  the  striving,  the 

1  Page  11.  2  D.  M.  p.  778,  note.  3  See  Hymiskv.  Str.  30. 

4  Str.  6.          Valaskialf  heitir,        Valaskialf  it  is  called, 

er  vaelti  ser  which  for  himself  constructed 

Ass  i  ardaga.  Odin  in  days  of  yore. 


loud-sounding }  etc.;  of  those  that  take  their  course  by 
men,  the  friendly,  way-knowing,  folk-griping,  useful,  ferti 
lizing,  rushing,  swelling,  roaring,  etc.  All  these  names,  as 
well  as  the  whole  context,  which  begins  with  the  upper 
air,  and  ends  with  the  before-mentioned  Gioll  and  Leipt, 
show  that  by  these  rivers  nothing  more  is  meant  than  the 
higher  and  lower  clouds.  Through  some  of  these,  too,  the 
Thunder-god  must  pass  on  his  way  to  the  place  of  meet 
ing  under  Yggdrasil,  as  he  could  not  go  over  the  rainbow 
without  setting  it  on  fire.  These  are  named  Kormt  and 
Ormt,  and  the  two  Kerlaugar,  names  which  cannot  be  ex 
plained.  The  foregoing  may  serve  as  examples  of  the  old 
enigmatic,  periphrastic  way  of  expressing  very  simple 
things,  and,  I  believe,  no  deeper  signification  is  to  be 
sought  for.  The  chosen  heroes  were  called  Einheriar 
(from  einn,  one,  chosen,  single,  and  heri,  lord,  hero),  also 
Odin's  Oskasynir1;  Odin  himself,  as  god  of  war,  being 
named  Cski,  the  granter  of  wishes*.  The  number  of  the 
Valkyriur  is  sometimes  three,  sometimes  nine,  also  thir 
teen,  and  twenty-seven,  sometimes  an  indefinite  number. 
The  youngest  Norn,  Skulld,  was  one  of  them.  They  crave, 
and  long  after  war.  They  are  white  maidens  that  ride 
through  the  air,  from  the  manes  of  whose  horses  dew  falls 
in  the  valleys,  and  hail  on  the  high  woods3.  Their  names 
have  reference  sometimes  to  war,  sometimes  to  clouds, 
rain  and  wind :  as  Hild  and  Gunn,  war ;  Svafa,  the  hover 
ing,  impending-,  Kara,  wind;  Goll,  the  same  word  as  the 
river  Gioll;  Sigurdrifa  and  Sigrun,  from  sigr,  victory,  and 
drifa,  to  drive.  They  are  also  called  Oskmeyiar4.  Odin's 
spear,  Gungnir  (from  at  gungna,  to  shake,  brandish),  is  a 
symbol  of  his  warlike  might.  His  horse  Sleipnir5  (from 
sleipr,  smooth,  gliding]  is  described  as  having  eight  legs, 

1  Gylf.  20.  2  Page  15,  note  5.     Grimm,  D.M.  p.  126. 

3  Helgakv.  Hatingask.  Str.  28. 

4  Oddrunar-gratr,  Str.  18.    Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  376.  5  Page  36. 


whereby  it  is  meant  merely  to  express  his  great  speed,  as 
Odin's  horse  is  mentioned  elsewhere  as  four-footed.  Like 
his  shield,  Odin's  horse  was  white,  in  allusion  probably  to 
the  clearness  of  heaven.  In  the  myth  of  Sleipnir's  birth, 
Svadilfori  is  the  winter's  cold  (according  at  least  to  Finn 
Magrmsen),  from  svaiS,  a  heap  of  melting  snow,  therefore 
that  which  brings  sleet  and  snow-storms ;  arid  the  simplest 
interpretation  of  a  part  of  the  myth  is,  perhaps,  the  follow 
ing.  Loki  (fire,  heat),  who  was  probably  desirous  of  rest 
ing  a  while,  persuaded  the  ^Esir  to  allow  the  stranger  ar 
chitect  (Winter)  to  raise  a  fortress  of  ice,  which  he  began 
with  his  assistant,  the  horse  Svadilfori,  that  is,  the  intense 
cold.  But  while  he  was  still  engaged  on  the  work,  the 
gods  saw  that  the  beauty  of  life,  Freyia,  would  be  lost  to 
them,  and  the  sun  and  moon  hidden  in  the  foul  giant's 
eternal  fog.  Whereupon  they  caused  Loki  to  connect 
himself  with  Svadilfori,  from  which  union  was  born  the 
gray  colt,  Sleipnir  (the  wind),  which  demolished  the  ice- 
mansion,  and  soon  increased  in  growth,  so  that  the  god  of 
the  year  (Odin)  could  mount  his  steed,  the  cooling  wind 
of  summer l .  That  the  wind  is  betokened  is  apparent  from 
the  popular  belief  in  Meklenburg,  that  on  Wednesday 
(Woden's  day)  no  flax  is  weeded,  that  Woden's  horse  may 
not  trample  on  the  seed ;  nor  may  any  flax  remain  on  the 
distaff  during  the  twelve  days  of  Christmas,  lest  Woden's 
horse  ride  through  and  tangle  it,  and  that  in  Skania  and 
Bleking,  after  the  harvest,  a  gift  was  left  on  the  field  for 
Odin's  horse2.  It  was  also  on  this  horse  that  Odin  con- 

1  See  a  similar  tradition  from  Courland,  of  the  giant  Kinte,  and  his 
white  mare,  Frost,  in  Grimm,  p.  516. 

2  Grimm,  p.  140.     In  Lower  Saxony  also  it  is  customary  to  leave  a 
bunch  of  grain  on  the  field  for  Woden's  horse.     In  the  Isle  of  Mb'en  a 
sheaf  of  oats  was  left  for  his  horse,  that  he  might  not  hy  night  trample  on 
the  seed.     Woden  occasionally  rides  also  in  a  chariot.     Petersen,  N.  M. 
p.  173.     Grimm,  p.  138. 

In  Oland,  Hogrum  parish,  there  lie  great  stones  called  Odin's  flisor 
(Odini  lamella),  concerning  which  the  story  goes,  that  Odin  being  about 


veyed  Hading  across  the  sea,  wrapping  him  in  his  man 
tle,  so  that  he  could  see  nothing1.  It  is  on  the  same 
white  horse  that  he  rides  as  the  Wild  Huntsman2.  In 
the  later  sagas  (as  in  that  of  Hrolfr  Kraki),  we  already 
find  it  believed  of  Odin,  that  he  was  an  evil  and  perfidious 
being,  who  mingled  in  the  tumult  of  battle,  and  caused 
the  fall  of  warriors.  In  the  middle  age,  this  belief  became 
more  and  more  prevalent.  To  the  singular  method,  by 
which,  according  to  Saxo,  one  might  "  prsesentem  co- 
gnoscere  Martem3,"  a  corresponding  tradition  exists  even  in 
the  heart  of  Germany.  We  are  told,  that  as  some  people 

to  feed  his  horse,  took  the  bit  from  his  mouth,  and  laid  it  on  a  huge  block 
of  stone,  which  by  the  weight  of  the  bit  was  split  into  two  parts,  that  were 
afterwards  set  up  as  a  memorial.  According  to  another  version  of  the 
story,  Odin,  when  about  to  fight  with  an  enemy,  being  at  a  loss  where  to 
tie  his  horse,  ran  to  this  stone,  drove  his  sword  through  it,  and  tied  his 
horse  through  the  hole.  The  horse,  however,  broke  loose,  the  stone  sprang 
asunder  and  rolled  away,  making  a  swamp  called  Hogrumstrask,  so  deep 
that  although  several  poles  have  been  bound  together,  they  have  not  suf 
ficed  to  fathom  it.  Geijer's  Schw.  Gesch.  i.  110.  Abr.  Ahlquist,  Glands 
Historia,  i.  37  ;  ii.  212,  quoted  by  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  141. 

A  small  water-fowl  (tringa  minima,  inquieta,  lacustris  et  natans)  is  to 
the  Danes  and  Icelanders  known  by  the  name  of  Oftinshani,  Odin's  fugl. 
In  an  Old  High-German  gloss  mention  occurs  of  an  Utinswaluwe  (Odin's 
swallow).  Ib.  p.  145. 

1  Saxo,  p.  40.  2  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  880. 

3  Saxo,  p.  106 ;  Grimm,  p.  891.     Biarco  being  unable  to  perceive  Odin 
on  his  white  horse,  giving  aid  in  a  battle  to  the  Swedes,  says  to  Ruta : 
Et  nunc  ille  ubi  sit,  qui  vulgo  dicitur  Othin 
Armipotens,  uno  semper  contentus  ocello  ? 
Die  mihi,  Ruta,  precor,  usquam  si  conspicis  ilium  ? 
To  which  she  answers  : 

Adde  oculum  propius,  et  nostras  prospice  chelas, 
Ante  sacraturus  victrici  lumina  signo, 
Si  vis  pra3sentem  tuto  cognoscere  Martem. 
Whereupon  Biarco  replies  : 

Quantumcunque  albo  clypeo  sit  tectus  et  altum  (I.  album) 
Flectat  equum,  Lethra  nequaquam  sospes  abibit ; 
Fas  est  belligerum  bello  prosternere  divum. 
Petersen,  N.  M.,  cites  Orvar  Odd's  Saga  (c.  29)  for  a  similar  instance. 


were  one  day  walking  on  the  Odenberg,  they  heard  a 
beating  of  drums,  but  saw  nothing;  whereupon  a  wise 
man  bade  them,  one  after  another,  look  through  the  ring 
which  he  formed  by  setting  his  arm  a-kimbo.  They  did 
so,  and  immediately  perceived  a  multitude  of  warriors  en 
gaged  in  military  exercises,  going  into  and  coming  out  of 
the  Odenberg1.  Many  authors  have  identified  the  Odin 
of  the  North  with  the  Indian  Budha;  of  their  original 
identity  there  can  hardly  exist  a  doubt,  though  the  myths 
relating  to  each  have  naturally  taken  widely  different  di 
rections.  What  I  have  seen  hitherto  in  opposition  to  this 
opinion  seems  to  me  to  favour,  if  not  confirm  it.  Schlegel 
repudiates  it  because  Budha  signifies  the  Wise,  and  is  an 
adjectival  form  from  bud',  to  think-,  but  Oftinn  is  a  simi 
lar  form  from  va$a,  so  that  the  verbal  identity  can  hardly 
be  greater ;  the  form  o^r,  ingenium,  anima  sensitiva,  agree 
ing  with  6<5inn,  shows  also  that  the  signification  of  both 
words  is  one  and  the  same. 

The  other  gods  also,  as  princes,  had  their  horses,  though 
the  authorities  do  not  state  which  belonged  to  each  in 
particular,  and  their  names  bear  a  close  resemblance  to 
each  other.  They  may  be  rendered  the  Shining,  the  Golden, 
the  Precious  stone,  the  Rays  shedding  on  the  way,  Silver- 
mane'2,  Sinew-strong,  the  Ray,  the  Pale  of  head,  Gold-mane* 
and  Light-foot.  Gold-mane  was  HeimdalPs,  in  allusion 
to  the  radiant  colours  of  the  rainbow. 

War  was  too  weighty  an  affair  not  to  have,  besides  the 
universal  ruler  Odin,  its  appropriate  deity.  This  was  Ty3, 
who,  at  the  same  time,  was  god  of  courage  and  honour. 
He  is  a  son  of  Odin,  but  his  mother  was  of  giant  race, 
light-browed  and  radiant  with  gold4.  No  one  equals  him 

1  Grimm,  p.  891. 

2  Gulltoppr,  Silfrintoppr  horses  were  called,  whose  manes  (toppr,  Ger. 
zopf )  were  intwined  with  gold  or  silver.    Grimm,  p.  623. 

3  Page  28.  4  Page  67. 


in  daring ;  in  the  midst  of  the  battle's  rage,  he  fearlessly 
stretches  forth  his  hand  decked  with  the  martial  gauntlet. 
He  is  the  Mars  of  the  Northern  nations. 

ILLUSTRATION. — Tyr  is  the  general  appellation  of  a  di 
stinguished  divinity,  though  particularly  of  the  god  of 
military  prowess  and  honour  (from  tyr,  tir,  honour].  His 
name  is  found  in  0.  Nor.  Tigsdagr,  Dan.  Tirsdag,  A.  S. 
Tiwesdseg,  Dies  Martis,  Tuesday ;  also  in  Tighraustr,  va 
liant  as  Ty.  The  strength  of  beer,  too,  is  described  as 
blandinn  megin-tiri,  medicata  magna  virtute1.  Loki  up 
braids  him  with  his  inability  ever  to  bear  a  shield,  or  to 
use  two  hands,  and  further  informs  him  that  his  wife  had  a 
son  by  him  (Loki),  and  that  Ty  did  not  get  a  rag  or  a 
farthing  as  damages2.  That  Odin  is  his  father  and  the 
beautiful  giantess  his  mother,  may  signify  that  she  is  the 
ennobled  giant-spirit  which  through  Odin  connects  itself 
with  the  M sir-race3. 

Odin's  wife  was  Frigg  (the  earth).  She  occurs  but 
rarely  under  the  general  appellation  of  earth,  but  often 
under  other  denominations,  according  to  the  several  points 
of  view  from  which  she  is  considered.  The  supreme  among 
all  the  goddesses  is  Frigg,  the  fertile  summer-earth,  who 
more  than  all  others  bewails  her  noble  son  Baldur's  (the 
summer's)  death.  Her  attendants  are  Fulla  (plenty)4,  a 
pleasing  emblem  of  the  luxuriant  aspect  of  the  blooming 
fields ;  Hlin,  (the  mild  protecting  warmth) ;  and  Gna,  who 
as  the  gentle  breeze  rides  on  her  swift  courser,  bearing  to 
every  land  the  produce  of  the  fruitful  earth5.  Under  an- 

1  Brynhildarkv.  5.  2  Lokaglep.  38,  40. 

3  Besides  numerous  names  of  places,  the  name  of  Ty  (Tyr)  appears  also 
in  the  following  names  of  plants :  O.  Nor.  Tysfiola,  viola  Mortis  ;  Tyrhialm, 
aconitum,  monk's  hood,  Dan.  Troldhat ;  0.  Nor.  TyviSr,  Dan.  Tyved,  Tys- 
ved,  daphne  mezereon,  spurge  laurel.  Grimm,  p.  180.  4  Page  35. 

5  In  Sweden,  Fyen  and  some  other  places,  the  constellation  Orion  is 
called  by  the  common  people  Frigg's  rok  (distaff).  The  orchis  odoratis- 
sima  is  called  Friggjar-gras  and  hjona-gras  (marriage  grass). 


other  form  the  earth  appears  as  Rind,  the  hard-frozen 
winter  earth,  with  whom  Odin  begets  Vali,  the  bright, 
winter  days,  with  clear,  hard  frost,  which  passes  over  to 
spring.  Frigg' s  rivals  are  Gerd  and  Gunnlod :  the  first 
may  be  regarded  as  the  germinating  spring  earth,  which 
in  seed-time  is  embraced  by  Frey ;  the  latter  is  the  au 
tumnal  earth,  which  is  embraced  by  Odin,  and  gives  him 
Suttung's  mead1,  at  the  time  when  the  labours  of  summer 
and  warfare  are  over,  when  the  harvest  songs  resound  in 
the  field,  and  the  shout  of  warriors  in  the  hall.  But 
neither  of  these  two  are  strictly  earth's  divinities.  As 
mother  of  Thor,  the  thunder,  the  earth  is  called  Fiorgyn 
(Fiorgvin)2  (Goth.  Fairguni8,  mountain]  and  Hlodyn4,  an 
other  name  for  mountain,  which  when  begrown  with  grass, 
is  represented  as  Thor's  wife,  Sif 5. 

ILLUSTRATION. — The  general  name  of  the  earth  is  iorS. 
Frigg  or  Frygg  is  related  to  the  Lat.  Fruges,  the  root  of 
which  is  found  in  the  participle  fructus,  Ger.  Frucht,  Dan. 
Frugt ;  it  therefore  denotes  the  fruitful  earth.  Her  dwell 
ing  is  called  Fensalir,  the  lower  and  humid  parts  of  the 
earth;  for  as  the  divinity  of  the  fertile  earth,  she  does 
not  rule  over  the  high,  barren  mountains.  Fulla,  the  full, 
abundant,  the  luxuriant  cornfield,  is  opposed  to  Sif,  the 
grass-grown  mountain.  Hlin  or  Hlyn  (from  hly,  at  hlua, 
at  hlyna,  calescere],  the  mild,  refreshing  warmth.  The  dan 
ger  from  which  she  protects  is  cold.  That  her  name  de 
notes  a  property  of  earth,  appears  from  the  circumstance, 
that  Frigg  herself  is  also  called  Hlin6.  By  Gna,  and  its 
derivative  at  gnsefa  (to  be  borne  on  high)  is  expressed 
motion  on  high,  in  the  air;  as  is  also  apparent  from  the 

1  Pages  41  sqq.  2  Page  21. 

3  Grimm,  pp.  156,  610,  and  Pref.  to  1st  edit.  p.  xvi. 

4  Page  21,  note2. 

5  See  p.  21  for  other  interpretations  of  Fiorgyn  and  Hlodyn. 

6  Page  79.  Voluspa,  Str.  54. 


name  of  her  horse,  Hofvarpnir  (the  hoof-caster),  and  that 
of  its  sire,  Hamskerpnir  (skin-drier),  or  Hattstrykir  (hat- 
sweeper),  and  of  its  dam,  GarSrofa1  (house,  or  fence- 
breaker).  The  word  rindr  is  still  used  in  Iceland  to  de 
note  barren  land.  It  is  the  Engl.  rind.  Rind  betokens 
the  frost-hardened  surface  of  the  earth.  Of  her  son  Van's 
birth  the  Eddas  supply  no  details :  it  is  merely  said,  She 
gave  birth  to  him  i  vestur  solum2  (in  the  halls  of  the 
West),  for  which  a  various  reading  has  i  vetur  solum  (in 
the  halls  of  winter),  which  suits  remarkably  well  with 
Rind.  In  Saxo3  we  find  the  chief  features  of  a  myth, 
which  has  there  assumed  an  almost  historic  colouring,  but 
evidently  belongs  to  our  category.  It  is  a  description  of 
Odin's  love  for  Rinda,  and  forms  a  counterpart  to  the 
myths  of  Odin  and  Gunnlod4,  Frey  and  Gerd5 : — "  Ros- 
tiophus6  Phinnicus  having  foretold  to  Odin,  that  by  Rinda, 
the  daughter  of  the  king  of  the  Rutheni7,  he  would  have 
a  son,  who  should  avenge  the  death  of  Baldur;  Odin, 
concealing  his  face  with  his  hat,  enters  into  that  king's 
service,  and  being  made  general  of  his  army,  gains  a  great 
victory;  and  shortly  after,  by  his  single  arm,  puts  the 
whole  army  of  the  enemy  to  flight  with  immense  slaugh 
ter.  Relying  on  his  achievements,  he  solicits  a  kiss  from 
Riu da,  in  place  of  which  he  receives  a  blow,  which  does 
not,  however,  divert  him  from  his  purpose.  In  the  follow 
ing  year,  disguised  in  a  foreign  garb,  he  again  seeks  the 
king,  under  the  name  of  Roster  the  smith,  and  receives 
from  him  a  considerable  quantity  of  gold,  to  be  wrought 
into  female  ornaments.  Of  this,  besides  other  things,  he 

1  Page.  35.  2  Vegtamskv.  Str.  16. 

3  Pages  126,  sg.  ed.  Muller. 

4  Page  40.  s  Page  46< 

6  Hross>iof  was  one  of  the  Frost-giant  Hrfmnir's  children ;  it  is  there 
fore  clear  that  with  him  it  is  the  middle  of  winter.     Hyndlulj.  Str.  31. 

7  The  Russians. 


fabricates  a  bracelet  and  several  rings  of  exquisite  beauty, 
which,  in  the  hope  of  gaining  her  love,  he  presents  to 
Rinda,  but  by  whom  he  is  repulsed  even  more  ignomi- 
niously  than  before.     He  then  comes  as  a  young  warrior, 
but  on  demanding  a  kiss,  receives  a  blow  which  lays  him 
tlat  on  his  face.     On  this  he  touches  her  with  a  piece  of 
bark,  on  which  certain  incantations  were  inscribed,  whereby 
she  is  rendered  as  one  frantic.     He  then  appears  in  the 
guise  of  a  woman,  under  the  name  of  Vecha,  and  is  ap 
pointed  to  the  office  of  Rinda' s  waiting-maid.     Availing 
himself  of  her  malady,  he  prescribes  a  potion,  but  which, 
on  account  of  her  violence,  he  declares  cannot  be  admi 
nistered,  unless  she  is  bound.     Deceived  by  the  female 
attire  of  the  leech,  the  king  orders  her  to  be  bound  forth 
with,  when  Odin,  taking  advantage  of  her  helplessness, 
becomes  by  her  the  father  of  a  son,"  whose  name  is,  not 
Yali,  but  Bo  (Bous),  but  who,  nevertheless,  is  identical 
with  Vali,  being  the  avenger  of  Baldur.    The  signification 
of  the  myth  is  evident  enough,  particularly  when  compared 
with  those  allied  with  it.     Rinda  is  the  hard-frozen  earth, 
that  repulses  Odin ;  the  ornaments  which  he  proffers  her, 
are  the  glories  of  spring  and  summer;  as  a  warrior,  he 
represents  war  to  her  as  the  most  important  occupation  of 
summer.     But  by  his  four  appearances  are  not  meant,  as 
some  have  imagined,   the  four  seasons,  but  merely  the 
hard  winter  and  its  transition  to  spring.    Fiorgynn  occurs 
once  as  a  masculine,  viz.  as  the  father  of  Frigg1,  but  else 
where  always  as  a  feminine  (Fiorgyn)  and  mother  of  Thor. 
Hlodyn,  which  also  denotes  the  earth  as  the  mother  of 
Thor*  is  rightly  referred  to  hlo«,  hearth,  which  is  derived 
from  at  hlaSa,  to  heap  up,  load2,  pret.  hlo$.    But  Hlodyn 
does  not  denote  the  deity  of  the  hearth,  who  could  not  in 
any  way  be  mother  of  Thor;  while  if  we  only  enlarge  the 
idea,  it  will  be  clear  that  the  word  signifies  a  mountain,  that 
i  Skaldskap.  19.  2  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  235. 


which  is  piled  up.  In  like  manner,  we  shall  presently  see 
that  another  name  for  mountain,  Hrugnir  (Hrungnir), 
comes  from  at  hriiga,  to  heap  up,  to  lay  stratum  upon 
stratum.  Both  Fiorgyn,  then,  and  Hlodyn  fundamentally 
signify  the  same,  viz.  a  mountain-,  but  the  idea  is  viewed 
under  different  aspects,  sometimes  as  the  compact  mass, 
sometimes  as  a  pile  of  strata  upon  strata. 

Thor  is  the  god  of  thunder;  he  dwells  in  Thrudheim  \ 
the  dense  gloom  of  clouds  2,  and  sends  forth,  from  time  to 
time,  the  gleaming  lightning  from  his  hall,  Bilskirnir. 
His  other  names  and  attributes,  as  well  as  those  of  his  at 
tendants,  bear  allusion  to  the  rapid  course  of  the  thunder 
storm,  terrific  sounds,  pernicious  lightnings,  together  with 
the  furious  winds  and  deluging  rains  which  accompany 
them.  His  crushing  hammer3  denotes  the  lightning; 
with  that  he  visits  rocks  and  sea,  and  nothing  withstands 
its  might.  His  strength  is  especially  expressed  by  his 
belt 3,  the  crash  of  thunder  by  his  chariot  3.  We  often 
find  Loki  (fire)  in  his  train,  and  even  as  his  hand-maiden4; 
for  the  fire  of  the  clouds  is  akin  to  earthly  fire,  but  the 
latter  fights  more  with  craft,  the  former  with  force.  Thor 
receives  slaves3,  partly,  perhaps,  as  the  divinity  particu 
larly  worshiped  by  the  Fins,  before  the  spread  of  the  As- 
religion  in  the  North,  partly  because  slaves  could  not  fol 
low  their  masters  to  Valhall,  but  must  occupy  an  inferior 
place.  According  to  old  Finnish  usage,  bridegroom  and 
bride  are  consecrated,  while  the  father  strikes  fire  with 
flint  and  steel;  fire-apparatus  is  also  given  to  the  dead. 
By  the  Fins  Thor  was  worshiped  as  the  chief  god,  and  a 
portion  of  his  worship  passed  into  the  As-religion. 

As  Thor  is  the  thunder-storm,  so  are  his  journeys  its 
divers  manifestations.    As  the  god  of  clouds,  he  is  scarcely 

1  Page  21. 

2  Keyser  (p.  34)  derives  Thrudheim  from  JmiSr,  i.  e.  >rottr,  strength, 
endurance.  3  page  22.  4  page  55^ 

i  2 


ever  at  home  with  the  JEsir,  but  visits  the  giants,— the 
rocks  and  mountains,— and  it  is  only  when  the  gods  call 
on  him,  that  he  is  at  hand.  Sometimes  we  find  him  in 
conflict  with  Midgard's  serpent l,  which  he  strikes  to  the 
bottom  of  the  ocean,  or  raises  in  the  air ;  he  hurls  the 
roaring  waves  against  the  cliffs  that  project  from  the  deep, 
and  forms  whirlpools  in  the  rocky  halls ;  sometimes  he  is 
contending  with  the  giant  (mountain)  Hrungnir2,  the 
crown  of  whose  head  pierces  the  clouds,  and  who  threatens 
to  storm  the  heavens.  Thor  cleaves  his  jagged  summit, 
while  Thialfi3,  his  swift  follower,  overcomes  the  weak  clay 
hill  by  the  mountain's  side.  He  also  visits  the  metal- 
king,  Geirrod,4  passes  through  the  mountain  streams  into 
the  clefts,  and  splits  their  stones  and  ores.  In  vain  will 
the  giant  Thrym  5,  groaning  in  his  impotence,  imitate  the 
Thunderer  ;  in  vain  he  hopes  that  the  goddess  of  fruitful- 
ness  will  be  his  ;  he  gets  neither  her  nor  the  Thunderer's 
might,  who  despises  the  powerless  matter's  presumptuous 
and  bootless  attempt.  The  thunderbolt  returns  to  the 
hand  of  the  Thunderer.  In  winter  only  Thor  loses  a  part 
of  his  resistless  might  :  his  hammer  rests  not,  but  its  force 
is  deadened  with  Skryrair  on  the  ice-rocks  6. 

ILLUSTRATION. — Thorr,  as  Grimm  observes,  seems  con 
tracted  from  Thonar,  whence  the  modern  Ger.  Donner, 
thunder.  Hereto  belong  also  the  Latin  tonus,  tonare,tonitru. 
Thrudheim,  or  Thrudvang,  where  he  dwells,  is  from  jmrSr, 
strong,  strictly,  closely  packed  together.  Bilskirnir  is  from 
bil,  an  interval  (of  time  or  space),  and  skir,  clear,  bright ; 
skirnir,  that  which  illumines,  glitters  in  the  air.  The  masses, 
like  strata,  lying  one  over  another,  are  represented  as  the 
several  stories  of  the  dwelling.  The  rolling  thunder  is 
expressed  by  Thor's  chariot,  rei«  (Lat.  rheda)  ;  whence 
also  the  thunder-crash  is  called  rer3ar-]?ruma  (the  rattling 

1  Page  65.  2  Page  70.  3  From  >ialf,  severe  labour. 

4  Page  52.  5  Page  54.  6  Pages  58,  sq. 


of  the  chariot.  The  names  of  the  goats,  Tanngniost  and 
Tanngrisnir l,  have  also  a  reference  to  sound ;  the  first 
from  gnist,  gnash.  Thorns  chariot  is  drawn  by  goats,  pro 
bably  because  those  animals  inhabit  the  highest  mountain- 
tops  ;  whether  they  were  accounted  sacred  to  Thor,  is  un 
known.  The  Ossetes,  in  the  Caucasus,  a  half  Christian 
race,  sacrifice  a  black  goat  to  Elias,  and  hang  the  skin  on 
a  pole,  when  any  one  is  killed  by  lightning  2.  The  rapid 
course  and  warmth  are  expressed  in  Ving-Thor,  or  the 
Winged  Thor,  and  in  his  foster-children,  Vingnir  and 
Hlora  lj  male  and  female ;  the  latter  is  akin  to  hlser, 
hlyr,  warm,  lukewarm,  and  with  at  hloa3 ,  to  glow.  From 
hloa  or  hlora  Thorns  name  of  Hloridi,  or  Hlorridi4,  is 
most  readily  derived,  the  latter  part  of  which  is  formed 
from  rerS,  a  chariot,  as  Hallinskeidi5  is  from  skeiiS.  Auku- 
Thor,  or  Oku-Thor,  is  by  the  ancient  writers  referred  to 
aka,  to  drive,  though  it  is  probably  no  other  than  Tkor's 
Finnish  name,  Ukko-Taran.  The  thunderbolt  and  the 
lightning  are  denoted  by  the  hammer  Mib'lnir,  the  crusher, 
bruiser,  from  at  mala  (molva,  melia).,  to  crush.  It  is  also 
called  J?ru3hamar,  signifying,  according  to  Finn  Magnusen, 
malleus  compactus.  Megingiardar  [,  from  megin,  strength, 
is  literally  the  girth,  or  belt,  of  power.  Thor  is  also  called 
Veor  (Vor),  and  Midgard's  Veor6,  the  signification  of 
which  is  extremely  doubtful.  As  followers  of  Thor,  arc- 
named  Thialfi  and  Roskva,  brother  and  sister,  conse 
quently  kindred  ideas.  Roskva  signifies  the  quick,  active, 
and  her  brother,  who  ran  a  race  with  Hugi7  (thought),  is 
also  a  good  runner.  Thialfi  may  not  improbably  denote  the 
rushing  thunder- shower,  which  will  well  suit  his  conflict 
with,  and  easy  conquest  of,  the  clay-giant  Mockurkalfi  8  ; 
for  it  is  undoubtedly  either  the  wind  that  blows  him  down, 

1  Page  22.  2  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  159.  3  Grimmsm.  Str.  29. 

4  Page  21.  5  Page  29.  6  Hyrniskv.  Str.  11,  21. 

"  Page  61.  8  Page  71. 


or  the  rain  that  washes  him  away.  The  father  of  Thialfi 
and  Roskva  is  in  Snorri's  Edda  called  a  peasant,  but  in 
Ssemund's  Edda  *,  he  is  designated  a  hravnbui 2  (sea- 
dweller),  a  name  well  suited  to  the  character  just  assigned 
to  his  son. 

The  stories  of  Thorns  journeys  are  chiefly  found  in 
Snorri's  Edda,  though  allusions  to  many  of  them  occur  in 
that  of  Ssemund.  Their  mythic  import  is  unquestionable. 
The  giant  Hymir  (from  hum  or  humr,  the  sea,  Gr.  Kv/jia}  3, 
is  manifestly,  both  from  his  name  and  from  the  matter 
of  the  poem,  a  sea- giant ;  he  represents  the  cliffs  which 
stretch  themselves  out  from  the  land  into  the  vast  unfa 
thomable  deep,  where  lies  the  Midgard's  serpent.  The 
drinking  cup  is  smashed  against  his  forehead,  viz.  the 
clinV  projecting  summits4.  The  kettle  signifies  the  whirl 
pool  among  the  rocks.  Hrungnir,  or  Hrugnir  (from  at 
hriiga,  to  heap  up)  is  the  mountain  formed  by  stratum  upon 
stratum,  whose  head  penetrates  the  clouds,  and  contends 
with  heaven. 

The  following  popular  tradition  from  the  Upper  Thelle- 
mark  is  both  interesting  in  itself  and  will  serve  as  a  fur 
ther  illustration  of  the  story  of  Thor  and  Hrungnir. 

At  the  upper  end  of  the  long  Totak  water  in  the  Upper 
Thellemark  is  a  very  remarkable  and  imposing  assemblage 
of  stones  which,  seen  from  the  water,  resembles  a  town 
with  its  gables  and  towers ;  of  its  origin  the  peasants  re 
late  the  following  story  : — 

1  Hymiskv.  Str.  35,  '  hravn-hvala  ; '   Str.  37, '  hravn-bua,'  also  Helgakv. 
Hadingask.  Str.  25. 

2  Hravn  (Hron)  is  the  Anglo-Saxon  hron,  signifying  the  ocean.     In 
this  sense  hron-rad  (the  sea-road)  is  used  in  Caedmon  (pp.  13,  19),  and  in 
the  Legend  of  St.  Andrew  (v.  740)  hron-fixas  (sea-fishes),  but  where  it  is 
written  '  horn-fixas.'     So  Beowulf,  v.  19,  ofer  hron-rade  (over  the  sea- 

3  Olafsen's  Nord.  Digtek.  p.  23.     Njala,  Ind.,  Skaldskap.  61. 

4  Page  68. 


1  ( On  the  plain  now  covered  by  the  stones  there  were  for 
merly  two  dwellings,  and,  as  some  say,  a  church,  whence 
the  largest  stone,  which  rises  amid  the  others  like  a  church 
roof,  is  to  this  day  called  the  church- stone.     In  these  two 
dwellings  two  weddings  were  once  held,  at  which,  accord 
ing  to  the  old  Norwegian  fashion,  the  horn  with  foaming 
beer  was  in  constant  circulation  among  the  guests.     It 
occurred  to  the  god  Thor  that  he  would  drive  down  and 
visit  his  old  friends  the  Thellemarkers.     He  went  first  to 
the  one  wedding,  was  invited  in,  presented  with  strong 
beer,  the  bridegroom  himself  taking  up  the  cask,  drinking 
to  Thor  and  then  handing  him  the  barrel.     The  god  was 
pleased  both  with  the  drink  itself  and  with  the  liberal 
manner  in  which  it  was  given,  and  went  greatly  gratified 
to  the  other  wedding  party,  to  taste  their  wedding  beer. 
There  he  was  treated  nearly  in  the  same  manner,  but  a 
want  of  respect  was  manifested  in  their  not  pledging  him 
in  a  general  bowl.     The  god,  perhaps  a  little  affected  by 
the  deep  draught  he  had  taken  at  the  other  wedding,  be 
came  furiously  wroth,  dashed  the  bowl  on  the  ground,  and 
went  away  swinging  his  hammer.  He  then  took  the  bridal 
pair  that  had  presented  him  with  the  cask,  together  with 
their  guests,  and  set  them  on  a  hill,  to  be  witness  of  and 
to  secure  them  from  the  destruction  he  in  his  revenge  had 
destined  for  those  who  by  their  niggardliness  had  offended 
Asgard's  most  powerful  god.    With  his  c  tungum-hamr?1 
he  then  struck  the  mountain  with    such   force   that    it 
toppled  down  and  buried  under  it  the  other  bridal  pair 
with  their  habitation.     But  in  his  anger  the  god  let  his 
hammer  slip  from  his  hand,  which  flew  down  with  the 
rocky  fragments  and  was  lost  among  them 2.     Thor  had 
therefore  to  go  down  and  seek  after  it,  and  began  casting 
the  fragments  aside  and  turning  and  tugging  them  until 
he  found  his  hammer.     Hence  it  was  that  a  tolerably  good 
1  Heavy  hammer.         2  It  did  not  then  return  to  his  hand.  See  p.  39. 


path  was  formed  through  the  stony  heap,  which  to  this 
day  bears  the  name  of  Thor's  way  V 

Hrungnir's  mountain-nature  is  also  well  expressed  in 
the  beginning  of  the  narrative  :  the  only  beings  for  whom 
he  entertains  a  regard,  are  the  goddess  of  beauty  herself, 
Freyia — whom  the  giants  constantly  desire — and  Sif,  who 
might  clothe  the  mountains'  naked  sides  with  grass.  His 
abode  is  named  Griotunagard  2  (from  griot,  stone,  and  tun, 
enclosure,  Eng.  town).  It  lies  on  the  boundary  between 
heaven  and  earth.  The  description  of  the  giant  himself 
portrays  plainly  enough  a  mountain  with  its  summits ; 
nor  does  it  require  illustration  that  Thor  cleaves  his  skull 
and  the  mass  of  rock,  which  he  holds  before  him  as  a 
shield,  with  a  thunderbolt. 

Like  his  father,  Odin,  Thor  also  manifested  himself  to 
King  Olaf  Tryggvason.  As  the  latter  was  once  sailing 
along  the  coast,  a  man  hailed  him  from  a  projecting 
cliff,  requesting  to  be  taken  on  b.  *rd,  whereupon  the 
king  ordered  the  ship  to  steer  to  the  spot  arid  the  man 
entered.  He  was  of  lofty  stature,  youthful,  comely,  and 
had  a  red  beard.  Scarcely  had  he  entered  the  vessel 
when  he  began  to  practise  all  sorts  of  jokes  and  tricks 
upon  the  crew,  at  which  they  were  much  amused.  They 
were,  he  said,  a  set  of  miserable  fellows,  wholly  un 
worthy  to  accompany  so  renowned  a  king  or  to  sail  in  so 
fine  a  ship.  They  asked  him  whether  he  could  relate 
something  to  them,  old  or  new  ?  He  said  there  were  few 
questions  they  could  ask  him  which  he  could  not  resolve. 
They  now  conducted  him  to  the  king,  praising  his  vast 
knowledge,  when  the  latter  expressed  the  wish  to  hear  one 
or  other  old  history.  "  I  will  begin  then/'  said  the  man, 
"  with  relating  how  the  land  by  which  we  are  now  sailing 
was  in  old  times  inhabited  by  giants,  but  that  such  a  ge 
neral  destruction  befell  those  people,  that  they  all  perished 
1  Faye,  p.  1.  2  Page  70. 


at  once,  except  two  women.  Thereupon  men  from  the 
east  countries  began  to  inhabit  the  country,  but  those 
giant  women  so  troubled  and  plagued  them  that  there  was 
no  living  there  until  they  thought  of  calling  on  this  Red- 
beard  to  help  them ;  whereupon  T  straightway  seized  my 
hammer  and  slew  the  two  women ;  since  which  time  the 
people  of  the  country  have  continued  to  call  on  me  for 
aid,  until  thou,  king,  hast  so  destroyed  all  my  old  friends 
that  it  were  well  worthy  of  revenge.  At  the  same  moment, 
regarding  the  king  with  a  bitter  smile,  he  darted  over 
board  with  the  swiftness  of  an  arrow."  In  this  wonder 
ful  story  we  see  expressed  Thorns  hostility  to  the  giants, 
and  their  extirpation  through  him ;  or,  in  other  words, 
how  by  his  operation  he  prepares  and  facilitates  the  cul 
ture  of  the  earth  among  mankind1. 

Thor  had  a  daughter  named  Thrud 2  (pniSr),  and 
Hrungnir  is  called  Thrud' s  thief  or  abducer  (pniSar  J?iofr) ; 
also  an  allusion  to  a  mountain,  which  attracts  the  clouds ; 
Thrud,  agreeably  with  what  has  been  already  said,  being 
the  dense  thunder-cloud.  Mockurkalfi  (from  mokkr,  a 
collection  of  thick  mist  or  clouds,  and  kalfr,  the  usual  ex 
pression  for  any  small  thing  with  reference  to  a  greater, 
as  a  calf  to  a  cow,  though  usually  applied  to  a  little  island 
lying  close  to  a  larger)  is  a  giant  of  clay,  not,  like  Hrung 
nir,  of  stone,  and,  therefore,  denotes  the  lower  earthy 
mountain.  Thor's  son,  Modi3,  signifies  the  courageous-, 
his  other  son,  Magni3,  the  strong,  may  be  compared  with 
Odin's  son  Vali,  whose  name  has  the  same  signification. 
Both  perform  mighty  deeds  immediately  after  their  birth  ; 
whence  it  would  seem,  as  Prof.  Finn  Magnusen  is  inclined 
to  suppose,  that  Magni  denotes  a  god  of  spring.  A  similar 
allusion  is  contained  in  the  name  of  Groa,  signifying  causing 
to,  or  letting,  grow.  By  the  star  OrvandiPs  toe4  is  probably 

1  Saga  Olafs  Tryggvasonar,  ii.  p.  182.  2  Pages  22,  34. 

3  Page  22.  4  Page  71. 

i  5 


meant  the  small  and  scarcely  visible  star  over  the  middle 
star  in  the  pole  of  the  wain.    The  frozen  toe  was,  no  doubt, 
the  great  toe,  and  is  identical  with  the  Diimeke  or  Hans 
Dumken  (thumbkin)  of  the  northern  Germans,  which  is  re 
garded  as  the  driver  of  the  carriage1.    The  rest  of  the  myth 
seems  inexplicable.    Geirrod,  who  also  in  the  Grimnismal2 
appears  as  a  giant3,  is  lord  of  the  ores  in  the  bowels  of 
the  earth.     His  name,  as  well  as  that  of  Grid  (GrrSr),  the 
giantess  at  the  entrance  of  the  mountain4,  Jarnsaxa5  and 
the  like,  have  reference  to  metals,  and  have  afterwards 
passed  into  names  of  weapons,  as  gri$,  an  axe6 ;    geir 
(A.  S.  gar),  a  dart.  GriSarvollr,   Grid's  staff4,  is  also  a 
metal  rod.     Thrym 7   (the  drummer,  thunderer)  from  at 
]?ruma,  to  thunder,  make  a  thundering  noise,  is  a  fitting 
name  for  the  giant  who  would  rival  the  thunderer  Thor, 
and  fancied  that  the  goddess  of  fertility  and  beauty  would 
fall  to  his  lot.     Skrymir,  or  Skrymnir  (from  skrum,  show, 
brag,  feint)  designates  the  crafty,  false  giant  who  by  his 
magic  deceives  Thor.     He  is  supposed  to  denote  winter, 
a  symbol  of  which  is,  moreover,  his  woollen  glove  8.     The 
myth  about  Utgarda-Loki  is  probably  a  later  addition,  its 
object  being  apparently  to  represent  the  weakness  of  the 
JEsir-gods,  in  comparison  with  the  Finnish  divinity  9. 

Thor's  wife  is  Sif 10.  Loki  (fire)  destroyed  her  lovely 
locks,  but  the  dwarfs,  sons  of  Ivaldi  u,  who  work  in  the 
earth,  made  her  a  new  head  of  hair,  the  germinating, 

1  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  688.  2  Page  17. 

3  See  Saxo,  p.  420,  for  the  account  of  Thorkill-Adelfar's  perilous  and 
marvellous  journey  to  visit  the  giant  Geruth  (Geirrod). 

4  Page  53.  5  Page  28.  6  Egils  Saga,  p.  443. 

7  Page  54,  and  note. 

8  Page  58.     F.  Magnusen,  Lex.  Mythol.  pp.  494,  630. 

9  It  may  rather,  perhaps,  be  regarded  as  a  burlesque  on  the  old  religion, 
composed  at  a  period  when  common  sense  began  to  operate  among  the 
followers  of  the  Odinic  faith. 

10  Page  34.  n  Page  38. 


bright-green  grass.  Her  (but  not  Thor's)  son  is  Ull 
(winter),  which  proceeds  from  the  mountains  to  the  humid 
valleys.  He  is  Baldur's  (the  summer's)  brother,  the  deity 
of  the  skate  or  snow-shoe,  of  the  chase,  the  bow  and  the 
shield  (which  is  called  his  ship),  and  runs  in  snow-shoes 
out  over  the  ocean. 

ILLUSTRATION. — As  Frigg  has  reference  to  the  culti 
vated  earth,  so  Thor's  wife,  Sif,  denotes  the  mountains 
that  surround  it,  but  which  are  uncultivated.  Siva,  the 
corresponding  deity  of  the  Slaves  and  Wends,  is,  on  the 
contrary,  represented  with  an  abundance  of  beautiful  hair 
and  crowned  with  a  wreath  of  flowers,  holding  a  golden 
apple  in  one  hand,  and  a  bunch  of  grapes  and  a  green  leaf 
in  the  other  1.  Here  she  represented  the  cultivated  earth 
with  its  produce,  while  in  the  North  she  retains  only  her 
golden  hair,  and  is  limited  to  be  the  goddess  of  grass  only  ; 
while  Frigg  and  Frey  preside  over  the  earth's  fmitfulness. 
This  appears,  too,  from  the  circumstance  that  Ull  is  her 
son.  Haddr  Sifjar  (Sif  s  head  of  hair)2  is  a  periphrasis  for 
gold.  In  Saxo 3  there  is  a  fragment  of  a  myth  of  Oiler 
(Ullur),  which  is  there  treated  historically.  Odin  is  driven 
from  Byzantium  (Asgrad)  by  Oiler,  who  tyrannizes  over 
Odin's  subjects  :  the  latter  returns,  wins  back  his  domi 
nion  by  gifts,  and  Oiler  is  forced  to  flee  to  Sweden, 
where,  as  it  were  in  a  new  world,  he  endeavoured  to  esta 
blish  himself,  but  was  slain  by  the  Danes.  This  story  has 
justly  been  regarded  as  a  myth  of  the  good  dispenser  of 
light,  who  is  expelled  by  winter,  but  returns  again  to  his 
dominion.  Saxo  in  his  recital  makes  mention  of  a  bone, 
on  which  Oiler  could  cross  the  sea,  which  Finn  Magnusen  4 

1  See  a  representation  of  her  in  Arnkiel,  Cimbrische  Heyden-Religion, 
i.  p.  120  ;  also  in  Vulpii  Handworterbuch  der  deutschen  Volker,  etc.,  1826, 
Tab.  III.  fig.  1.     See  also  Lex,  Mythol.  p.  681. 

2  So  read  p.  34,  note  3.         3  Pages  130,  131.         4  Lex.  Mythol.  p.  765. 


has  well  explained  to  be  skates,  which  in  the  earliest  times 
were  made  of  the  bones  of  horses  or  oxen1. 

Loki  is  fire.  In  the  beginning  of  time  he  was,  as  Lodur2, 
the  mild,  beneficent  warmth,  united  with  All-father  ; 
but  afterwards,  like  a  fallen  angel,  having  descended  on 
earth,  he  became  crafty,  devastating  and  evil,  like  the  de 
solating  name.  There  he  was  born  in  the  foliage,  and 
had  the  wind  for  his  father3.  His  brothers  are  devasta 
tion  and  ruin.  At  one  time  he  nutters,  like  a  bird,  up 
along  a  wall,  beats  with  his  wings,  and  peeps  in  at  a 
window,  but  his  heavy  feet  cling  to  the  earth4;  some 
times  he  flies,  whirled  by  the  storm-wind,  over  stock  and 
stone,  floating  between  heaven  and  earth  5 ;  but  while,  as 
Lopt,  he  is  traversing  the  free  air,  he,  nevertheless,  suffers 
himself  to  be  shut  up  and  tamed  by  hunger4;  the  humid 
grass  can  bind  his  mouth,  and  yet  his  heart  is  not  con 
sumed.  It  became  so  when  he  wrought  and  begat  children 

1  And  so  in  Iceland,  even  at  the  present  day.  The  words  of  Saxo  are  : 
Fama  est,  ilium  adeo  praestigiarum  usu  calluisse,  ut  ad  trajicienda  maria 
osse,  quod  diris  carminihus  obsignavisset,  navigii  loco  uteretur,  nee  eo 
segnius  quam  remigio  praejecta  aquarum  obstacula  superaret.  p.  131. 
That  such  was  also  the  custom  in  our  own  country  in  the  12th  century, 
appears  from  a  curious  passage  in  Fitzstephen's  Description  of  London,  of 
which  the  following  is  a  translation  :  "When  that  great  pool,  which 
washes  the  northern  wall  of  the  city  is  frozen,  numerous  bodies  of  young 
men  go  out  to  sport  on  the  ice.  These  gaining  an  accelerated  motion  by 
running,  with  their  feet  placed  at  a  distance  from  each  other,  and  one  side 
put  forwards,  glide  along  a  considerable  space.  Others  make  themselves 
seats  of  ice  like  great  millstones,  when  one  sitting  is  drawn  by  many  run 
ning  before,  holding  each  other's  hands.  During  this  rapid  motion  they 
sometimes  all  fall  on  their  faces.  Others,  more  skilled  in  sporting  on 
the  ice  fit  to  their  feet  and  bind  under  their  heels  the  bones,  i.  e.  the  leg- 
bones,  of  animals,  and  holding  in  their  hands  poles  with  iron  points,  which 
they  occasionally  strike  on  the  ice,  are  borne  away  with  a  speed  like  that 
of  a  bird  flying,  or  an  arrow  from  a  bow."  The  great  pool  above  alluded 
to  afterwards  gave  place  and  name  to  Afoor-fields. 

2  Page  10.  3  Page  30.  4  Page  52.  5  Page  43. 


in  the  bowels  of  the  earth,  with  giantesses  and  jarnvidiur, 
i.  e.  the  metals  and  combustible  parts  of  the  earth.  There 
he  begat  with  Angurboda  l  (the  announcer  of  sorrow),  the 
wolf  Feririr,  Midgard's  serpent  and  Hel.  The  ravenous 
wolf,  (subterranean  fire)  would  have  destroyed  the  world, 
if  the  powerful  gods  had  not  chained  it  in  the  mountain- 
cavern;  but  even  there  the  foam  issues  from  its  open  jaws 
as  a  dense  vapour,  and  sparkling  smoke.  The  foul,  perni 
cious  Loki  was  by  the  gods  thrust  down  into  the  earth  and 
confined  in  its  caverns ;  there  he  yet  works,  though  men 
notice  it  only  when  he  moves,  for  then  the  earth  trembles. 
The  bonds  yet  hold  him,  but  when  they  are  loosed  the 
gods  will  lose  their  sway  over  the  world.  Then  will  Loki 
come  forth  with  his  son  Fenrir,  whose  under  jaw  is  on  earth, 
while  his  upper  jaw  reaches  heaven2,  and  fills  all  the  air 
with  flame.  The  fire  confined  in  the  earth  will  also  cause 
commotion  in  the  sea ;  then  will  the  great  serpent  move 
itself  in  the  deep,  threaten  the  land  and  raise  itself  to 
heaven.  The  raging  fire  will  cause  death  and  desolation 
around  it,  etc.  etc. 

ILLUSTRATION. — The  root  of  the  word  Loki  is  found  in 
many  languages,  as  Sansk.  loc  (lotsj),  to  shine;  Lat.  luceo, 
lux  (lues) ;  Kymr.  Hug,  fire ;  0.  Nor.  logi,  flame,  etc.  He 
is  a  mixed  being,  good  arid  evil,  but  as  terrestrial  fire,  par 
ticularly  the  latter.  He  is  the  cause  of  almost  all  evil, 
wherefore  some  connect  his  name  with  the  Greek  Ao^ao>, 
0.  Nor.  lokka,  to  entice3.  His  other  name,  Loptr,  from  lopt, 
air,  Ger.  Luft,  signifies  the  aerial.  In  the  Voluspa4  the 

1  Page  31.  2  Pages  79,81. 

3  Asaloki  forms  a  contrast  to  all  the  other  gods.     He  is  the  evil  prin 
ciple  in  all  its  varieties.  As  sensuality  he  runs  through  the  veins  of  men  ;  in 
nature  he  is  the  pernicious  in  the  air,  the  fire,  the  water  ;  in  the  lap  of  earth 
as  the  volcanic  fire,  in  the  ocean's  depth  as  a  fierce  serpent,  in  the  nether 
world  as  the  pallid  death.     Hence  he  is  not  bound  to  any  individual  na 
ture  ;  like  Odin  he  pervades  all  nature.     Petersen,  N.  M.  p.  355. 

4  Str.  55. 


wolf  Fenrir  is  called  Hvedrung's  (Hve^rungs)  son  ;  in  like 
manner  Hel  is  called  Hvedrung's  daughter  l,  the  signifi 
cation  of  which  is  extremely  doubtful.  As  the  terrestrial 
fire,  he  has  Farbauti  for  his  father,  from  far,  a  ship,  and 
bauta,  to  beat,  therefore  the  ship-beater,  an  appropriate 
periphrasis  for  the  wind.  For  his  mother  he  has  Laufey 
(leafy  isle)  or  Nal,  needle  (t.  e.  the  leaflet  of  the  fir2)  ;  for 
his  brothers,  Byleist,  from  bu,  a  habitation,  and  lesta,  to 
lay  waste  ;  or  from  bylr,  storm,  and  sestr,  raging  ;  and  Hel- 
blindi3,  which  is  also  one  of  Odin's  names.  But  Loki 
does  also  some  good :  it  is  he  who  has  almost  always  to 
procure  what  is  wanting ;  he  causes  the  implements  and 
ornaments  to  be  made  for  the  gods,  both  by  the  sons  of 
Ivaldi 4,  who  work  in  wood,  as  well  as  by  those  who  forge  4. 
It  is  fire  that  sets  all  things  in  activity.  Loki  visits  the 
metal  king,  Geirrod,  who  causes  him  to  be  confined  and 
nearly  starved :  both  types  are  in  themselves  sufficiently 
clear.  Thiassi  flies  with  Loki,  who  hangs  fast  by  the  pole5: 
this  is  evidently  fire,  which  by  the  storm  is  borne  through 
the  air.  Thiassi  has  been  explained  as  identical  with 
Thiarsi,  from  ]?iarr,  violent,  impetuous.  His  windy  nature 
is  manifest  enough,  partly  as  being  the  father  of  Skadi 6, 
and  partly  from  appearing  in  the  form  of  an  eagle,  like 
Hrsesvelg  7.  It  is  the  storm  in  the  hollows  of  the  moun 
tains  that  rushes  out,  and  bears  along  with  it  the  burn 
ing  trunks  of  trees  through  the  air.  Snorri's  Edda  8  gives 
two  brothers  to  Thiassi,  Idi  (IJn,  brightness,  splendour)  and 
Gang  (Gangr,  the  gold  diffused  in  the  innermost  recesses  of 
the  mountain).  In  the  story  of  Sindri,  who  forges,  and 
Brock,  who  stirs  the  fire,  and  afterwards  closes  up  Loki's 

1  Ynglingas,  52. 

2  Trees  with  acicular  leaflets,  like  the  fir,  cedar,  yew  and  the  like,  are 
called  needle-trees. 

3  Page  30.  4  Page  38.  5  Page  43. 
6  Page  45.                    '  Page  8.                       s  Page  45. 


mouth1,  Sindri  denotes  the  smith,  from  sindr,   the  red 
hot  sparks  that  spring  from  under  the  hammer.     The  name 
of  Brock  might  also  be  explained,  if  we  knew  how  they  an 
ciently  nourished  and  quelled  the  fire  in  their  smithies.   It 
has  been  interpreted,  dry  sedge  from  marshy  places,  but 
was  this  in  use  ?    By  closing  up  Loki's  mouth  is  signified, 
that  he  quenched  the  fire.     In  the  name  of  the  band  Var- 
tari,  there  is  evidently  a  play  on  the  word  vor,  lip  ;  the 
other  part,  tari,  is  not  intelligible.     From  the  whole  con- 
text,  however,  it  would  seem  that  the  allusion  is  to  a  fitting 
mode  of  preserving  fire,  of  quelling  it,  when  becoming  too 
fierce,  and  finally,  when  the  forging  is  over,  of  quenching 
it.     When  Loki  came  into  the  abyss  he  became  particu 
larly  evil  (kyndugr)  2.  This  word  (from  at  kynda,  to  kindle, 
Lat.  candeo,  cendo,  Sansk.  cand  (tsjand),  and  hugr,  mind) 
is  an  excellent  example  of  the  transition  of  physical  ideas 
to  moral.     He  is  represented  as  a  cow  and  as  a  woman, 
both  emblems  of  bringing  forth  ;  and  he  there  gave  birth 
to  his  terrific  offspring.     The  gods  were  at  length  com 
pelled  to  confine  him.     He  abides  as  a  salmon  in  Fran- 
augur's  fors  3  (from  frann,  glistening}.     With  this  may  be 
compared  the  Finnish  myth,  according  to  which,  fire  pro 
duced  by  the  gods  falls  in  little  balls  into  the  sea,  is  swal 
lowed  by  a  salmon,  and  afterwards  found  in  the  captured 
fish4.    The  glistening  appearance  of  a  salmon,  its  red  flesh 
and  quick  motion,  might  easily  induce  the  ancients  to  say 
there  was  fire  in  it.     Loki  assumed  that  shape  to  be  as 
effectually  hidden  from  the  gods  as  possible,  and  appeared 
in  fire's  most  innocent  form  ;  but  they  were  too  well  ac 
quainted  with  his  guile.    His  son  Vali,  or  Ali  (the  strong), 
was  by  the  gods  transformed  into  a  wolf,  and  tore  his 
brother  Nari  or  Narvi  (the  binding)  ;  and  Loki  was  bound 
with  his  bowels.     Skadi  hung  a  serpent  above  his  head  5. 

40.  2  Hyndlulj.  Str.  38.  3  Page  77. 

4  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  577,  note.  5  pages  31 


Eitr,  as  we  have  already  seen,  was  the  most  intense  cold ; 
the  serpent,  consequently,  is  the  cold  stream  that  flows 
from  the  mountains  into  the  deep.  The  name  of  Loki's 
wife,  Sigyn,  is  plainly  from  at  siga  (A.  S.  sigan),  to  sink, 
fall,  glide  down,  consequently  a  water-course.  It  is  said 
that  Loki  lies  under  Hvera-lund  !  (the  wood  or  forest  of 
hot-springs),  and  that  his  wife,  Sigyn,  sits  "  not  right 
glad  "  with  him  2.  Sigyn  denotes  the  warm  subterranean 
springs,  which  receive  the  cold  stream  that  comes  from 
Skadi  * ;  but  when  the  warm  springs,  swollen  with  the 
mountain-streams,  rush  violently  down  upon  the  fire,  then 
the  earth  trembles.  In  Saxo  3  we  find  traces  of  this  myth, 
though,  according  to  him,  it  is  Utgarda-Loki  that  lies 
bound  in  a  cavern.  Angurboda,  the  mother  of  Loki's 
children,  denotes  the  boder  of  sorrow  (from  angur,  sorrow). 
Fenrir  (the  inhabitant  of  the  abyss  or  deep),  or  Fenris- 
ulf  (the  howling  wolf  of  the  deep),  is  another  form  of  the 
subterranean  fire — the  volcanic.  The  bands  by  which  he 
is  bound  (LseSing,  Dromi,  Gleipnir) 4  have  allusion  to 
strength  and  pliability.  The  holm  or  islet  of  Lyngvi, 
which  is  overgrown  with  ling  or  heath,  and  surrounded 
by  the  black  lake  Amsvartnir,  is  the  fire-spouting  moun 
tain  5.  The  river  Van,  or  Von,  is  the  ascending  smoke. 
In  a  Skaldic  poem  cited  by  Finn  Magnusen6,  several  names 
occur  belonging  to  this  place,  among  others,  Vil  and  Von, 
two  rivers  flowing  from  the  mouth  of  the  wolf  (signifying, 
howl,  lament,  and  vapour),  whose  lips  are  named  Giolnar 
(from  giola,  a  gust  of  wind),  consequently  the  craters  of  a 
volcano.  Two  rivers,  Vid  (Vr<$)  and  Van  are  named  in 
the  Grimnismal7,  evidently  in  allusion  to  vapour  and 
clouds.  The  World's  Serpent  (MrSgarSsormr),  or  the 

1  Voluspa,  Str.  39.     Compare  Lokaglepsa,  Str.  51. 

2  Page  78.  3  Pages  431,  433. 
4  Pages  50,  51.                              5  Page  51. 

6  Lex.  Mythol.  p.  340.  ^  Str.  28. 


Terrestrial  Serpent,  or  Wolf  (Jormungandr),  is  the  deep 
ocean.  That  it  is  excited  by  subterranean  fire,  and  thereby 
becomes  baneful,  is  quite  intelligible ;  but  it  is  by  a  bold 
transition  that  the  ancients  made  fire  (Loki)  the  father  of 
Hel  or  Death,  with  whom  there  is  only  cold.  The  domi 
nion,  however,  over  cold  she  did  not  obtain  until  the  gods 
sent  her  to  Ninheim  l.  On  the  way  to  her  abode  lay  the 
dog  Garni 2,  which  bays  before  Gnipa-hellir  3,  a  being  that 
both  in  name  and  signification  (from  gerr,  voracious)  an 
swers  to  Cerberus  4.  This  dog  seems  to  have  guarded  the 
descent  to  Hel  through  the  earth ;  as  those  taking  the 
way  by  the  Giallar-bru  met  with  the  maiden  Modgud5,  of 
whom  more  when  we  speak  of  Baldur. 

Baldur  the  good,  with  the  light  or  bright  brows,  is,  as 
almost  all  have  admitted,  the  warm  summer,  the  season  of 
activity,  joy  and  light.  On  his  life  depend  the  activity 
and  joy  of  the  gods ;  his  death  brings  sorrow  to  all,  to 
gods  and  men,  and  to  all  nature.  One  being  only,  the 
evil  Loki,  the  terrestrial  fire,  loses  nothing  by  Baldur' s 
death,  and  is,  therefore,  represented  as  the  cause  of  it,  and 
as  hindering  Baldur' s  release  from  Hel6.  Baldur,  the 
light,  is  slain  by  the  darkness,  Hod";  the  bale-fires  blaze 
at  his  death ;  he  journeys  to  Hel,  and  there  is  no  hope  of 
his  return.  His  mother,  the  fruitful  earth,  mourns,  and 
all  beings  shed  tears,  all  nature  is  filled  with  weeping,  like 
the  days  of  autumn.  Darkness  prevails  almost  as  much 
by  day  as  by  night ;  but  the  earth  stiffens,  and  Rind  brings 
forth  a  son,  the  powerful  Vali6,  so  that  darkness  is  again 
dispelled  by  pure,  clear  days.  Baldur' s  wife,  Nanna,  is 
the  busy  activity  of  summer,  its  unwearied,  light  occupa- 

1  Page  50.  2  Page  78. 

3  Page  81.  Lex.  Mythol.  p.  398  ;  Voluspa,  Str.  49  ;  Grimnism.  Str.  44  ; 
Vegtamskv.  Str.  6,  7. 

4  Lex.  Mythol.  p.  111.  5  Page  75. 
6  Page  76.  '"  Page  74. 


tions1.  Their  son,  Forseti  (the  fore-sitter,  president,  in 
the  assembly),  holds  spring,  summer,  and  autumn  meet 
ings  (guilds),  as  the  maintainer  of  justice 2.  War,  the 
principal  employment  of  summer,  was  reserved  for  Odin 
himself,  as  the  highest  god. 

ILLUSTRATION. — Baldur  is  referred  to  the  Lith.  baltas, 
white  ',  Slav,  bel  or  biel ;  bielbog,  the  white,  or  bright  god. 
Beauty  and  goodness  are  the  fundamental  ideas  contained 
in  the  name.  Baldur' s  abode  is  Breidablik3  (the  broad 
glance).  The  clear,  white  light  is  also  indicated  by  the 
plant  sacred  to  him,  Baldur' s  bra4.  Nanna,  the  name  of 
Baldur' s  wife,  has  received  various  interpretations,  among 
which  the  least  improbable  is,  perhaps,  to  derive  it  from 
atnenna,  to  have  a  mind,  feel  inclined ;  both  nenna  and  the 
adjective  nenninn,  signify  a  sedulous  worker,  one  indefa- 
tigably  active ;  hence  Nanna  would  denote  the  active, 
summer  life.  Very  appropriately,  therefore,  is  the  name  of 
Nonna  applied  to  Idun  5,  and  that  Odin's  active  maidens, 
the  Valkyriur,  are  called  nonnur  herjans6  (maidens  of 
Odin).  Nanna' s  father  is  named  Nef  or  Nep,  but  by 
Saxo7  he  is  called  Gevar  (Gefr);  one  of  these  must  be 

1  There  is  much,  as  Keyset  remarks,  to  object  to  in  this  interpretation 
of  the  myth  of  Baldur,  but  more  particularly  the  circumstance  of  Baldur 
continuing  with  llel  until  the  dissolution  of  the  world,  while  Summer  re 
turns  annually.     The  whole  story  of  Baldur  and  of  his  bright  abode 
Breidablik,  where  nothing  impure  enters,  points  him  out  as  the  god  of 
innocence.     His  name  signifies  the  strong,  and  alludes  to  mental  strength 
combined  with  spotless  innocence.     The  blind  Hod  will  then  represent 
bodily  strength  with  its  blind  earthly  strivings,  who,  instigated  by  sin — 
Loki — unconsciously  destroys  innocence,  and  with  it  die  both  the  desire 
and  activity  for  good — Nanna.     The  homicide  is  avenged  by  quick-waking 
reflection ; — Hod  is  slain  by  Vali :  but  pure  innocence  has  vanished  from 
this  world  to  return  no  more,  though  all  nature  bewails  its  loss.     Only 
in  the  regenerated  world  will  it   again  predominate.     Relig.  Forfatn. 
pp.  45,  46. 

2  Page  30.  3  Page  23. 

4  Page  22,  note  2.  5  Hrafnag.  Oftins,  Str.  8. 

6  Vbluspa,  Str.  24.  7  Pages  82,  111. 


erroneous.  Nef  has  not  been  interpreted,  but  Gefr  is 
simply  giver ;  the  father  gives,  and  the  daughter  operates. 
Saxo  relates  how  Gevar  was  treacherously  burnt  alive 
by  night  (nocturno  igni)  by  his  jarl  (satrapa)  Gunno,  but 
that  Hotherus  (Hod)  caused  Gunno  to  be  cast  on  a  burn 
ing  pile 1 ;  an  allusion  possibly  to  the  piles  kindled  at 
midsummer,  or  at  the  end  of  summer,  wherein  also  lies  a 
myth,  viz.  how  the  avocations  of  summer  are  interrupted 
by  war  (Gunno,  gynni,  signifying  a  warrior],  which,  in  its 
turn,  is  at  a  stand  during  the  dark  winter.  Hod  (Hoftr, 
gen.  Ha^ar)  in  many  compounds,  signifies  (like  the  A.  S. 
hea]?o)  war,  or  battle  2 ;  whence  it  would  seem  that  the 
idea  of  war  prevails  where  we  might  expect  to  find  blind 
ness,  or  darkness  the  prominent  one.  The  name  of  Vali 
is  also  of  doubtful  signification ;  it  may  be  a  derivative  of 
at  vala,  and  the  masculine  of  volva  (vala)  a  prophetess, 
Scot,  spae-wife,  or  it  may  signify  the  strong  •  but,  at  all 
events,  Vali  is  the  new  year,  which  begins  with  brighter 
days.  In  the  old  Swedish  runic  calendar,  Yule-day  is 
denoted  by  a  child  in  swaddling  clothes  with  a  radiant 
crown,  and  the  25th  of  January,  among  the  modern  Nor 
wegians,  by  Paul  the  archer,  or  Paul  with  the  bow  (qu. 
Vali?).  In  the  Danish  runic  calendars,  the  same  day  is 
noted  by  a  sword,  in  the  Norwegian  by  a  bow,  and  in  the 
Swedish  by  a  sword  and  a  bow,  in  remembrance  of  the 
arms  of  Vali  3.  Although  Christian  ideas  may  have  been 
mixed  up  with  the  first-mentioned  of  these  hieroglyphics, 
the  pagan  Vali  seems,  nevertheless,  to  be  the  fundamental 
one,  who  was  only  one  day  old  when  he  slew  Hod  4,  and 
had  a  bow  for  his  attribute.  The  ancient  Scandinavians 
admitted  only  two  seasons,  summer  and  winter.  Neither 
spring  nor  autumn  appear  as  distinct  beings,  but  as  transi- 

1  Page  131.  2  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  204. 

3  Specimen  Cal.  Gentil.  ad  calcem  Lex.  Mythol.  pp.  1052,  1060. 

4  Page  76. 


tions ;  Vali  may,  therefore,  be  regarded  as  the  transition 
of  the  year  to  spring.     The  mistletoe  shoots  forth  towards 
the  end  of  June,  flowers  in  May,  and  is  green  all  the 
winter.     The  Romans  were  acquainted  with  it,  and  among 
the  Gauls,  the  chief  druid,  on  a  certain  day  in  spring, 
ascended  the  oak  on  which  it  grew,  and  cut  it  off  with  a 
golden  knife ],  that  it  might  not  injure  Baldur,  or  that  the 
summer  might  come  without  hindrance  :  a  proof  of  the 
wide-spread  veneration  for  Baldur,  and  also  a  confirmation 
of  the  just  interpretation   of  the  myth.      The  giantess 
Thokt,  whose  form  Loki  assumed2,  has  been  well  illus 
trated  by  Finn  Magnusen,  by  a  saying  still  current  in 
Iceland  :    "  All  things   would  weep   (release  by   weeping) 
Baldur  from  Hel,  except  coal 3."    The  name  of  the  giantess 
he  explains  by  tecta,  operta ;  it  will  then  be  derived  from 
at  )?ekja,  Lat.  tego,  to  deck,  cover,  whence  the  adjective 
J?aktr,  fern.  }>6kt,  Lat.  tego,  and  signify  the  covered  (fire). 
Coal  knows  no  other  tears  than  dry  sparks ;  it  suffers  no 
detriment  from  the  death  of  summer,  and  has  no  joy  in  it. 
Hyrrokin,  the  whirling,  smoking  fire  (from  hyrr,  fire,  and 
roka,  whirlwind),  may  have  allusion  to  the  manner  in  which 
they  anciently  eased  the  motion  of  their  ships  along  the 
rollers.     Litur  (Litr)  colour,  whom  Thor  kicks  into  the 
fire,  indicates  the  hue  of  the  flaming  fire  which  dies  with 
the  light 4.     The  presence  of  all  beings  at  the  funeral  pile 
of  summer,  in  which  all,  more  or  less,  had  had  pleasure,  is 
perfectly  intelligible  ;  nor  is  Thor  (thunder)  inactive  on  the 
occasion.  The  funeral  is  princely,  according  to  the  custom 
of  the   North.     The  watch  at  the  Giallar-bru,  Modgud, 
signifies  the  contentious,  quarrelsome.     The  Giallar-bru  is, 
from  what  has  been  said,  opposed  to  the  rainbow,  and 
Modgud  here,  instead  of  Mimir,  to  Heimdall.     Forseti, 

1  Plinii  H.  N.  xvi,  95.  2  Page  76. 

3  Allir  hlutir  grata  Balldur  ur  Helju,  nema  kol.     Lex.  Myth.  p.  297. 

4  Page  75. 


as  has  already  been  observed,  denotes  a  president;  his 
abode  is  Glitnir  (from  at  glita,  to  shine,  glitter),  the  shining, 
glittering,  and  betokens  the  solemnity,  sanctity  and  purity 
of  justice  1. 

BRAGI  AND  IDUN  (!$UNN  tyirSR)2. — Bragi  is  a  son  of 
Odin  and  husband  of  Idun,  the  originator  of  poetry  and 
eloquence,  the  most  exquisite  skald;  hug-runes  (mind- 
runes)  are  inscribed  on  his  tongue ;  he  is  celebrated  for  his 
gentleness,  but  more  particularly  for  eloquence  and  wise 
utterance.  After  him  poetry  is  called  bragr;  and  after 
him  men  and  women  distinguished  for  wisdom  of  speech 
are  called  bragr-men  or  bragr- women.  He  is  described  as 
having  an  ample  beard,  whence  persons  with  a  similar  ap 
pendage  are  called  Skeggbragi  (from  skegg,  beard).  His 
wife,  Idun,  keeps  in  her  casket  the  apples  of  which  the 
gods  bite  when  they  are  growing  old;  they  then  again 
become  young,  and  so  it  will  go  on  until  Ragnarock.  On 
hearing  this  relation  of  Har,  Gangleri  observed :  "  It  is  a 
very  serious  charge  which  the  gods  have  committed  to 
Idun's  care ; "  but  Har  answered,  laughing  at  the  same 
time,  "  It  was  once  near  upon  bringing  with  it  a  great  mis 
fortune1."  (In  what  it  consisted  is  nowhere  said.)  For  the 
story  of  her  being  carried  off  by  Thiassi  see  page  44.  In 
the  Loka-glepsa3  Bragi  offers  a  horse  and  a  sword  to  Loki, 
if  he  will  desist  from  raising  strife,  who  in  return  upbraids 
him  with  being,  of  all  the  J^sir  and  Alfar  present,  the 
most  fearful  in  battle  and  the  greatest  avoider  of  shot. 
Idun  beseeches  her  husband  to  keep  peace  with  Loki,  and 
declares  that  she  will  utter  no  contemptuous  words  to  him, 
but  will  only  appease  her  husband,  who  is  somewhat  heated 
by  drink.  But  Loki,  who  appears  very  regardless  of  her 
gentleness,  tells  her  that  she  is  the  most  wanton  of  women, 

1  Gylf.  26.     Brynh.  Qvitfa,  i.  17.     Skaldskap.  10. 

2  Connected  with  ift,  activity ;  iftinn,  active.     Keyser,  p.  39 

3  Str.  12-18. 


since  she  threw  her  nicely  washed  arms  around  her  bro 
ther's  slayer. 

At  guilds  the  Bragarfull,  or  Bragi-cup  was  drunk.     A 
troll-wife  told  Hedin  that  he  should  pay  for  his  contempt 
of  her  at  the  Bragi-cup1.    It  was  the  custom  at  the  funeral 
feast  of  kings  and  jarls,  that  the  heir  should  sit 
seat  in  front  of  the  high  seat,  until  the  Bragarfull  was 
brought  in,  that  he  should  then  rise  to  receive  it,  make  . 
vow  and  drink  the  contents  of  the  cup.     He  was  then  led 
to  his  father's  high  seat2.     At  an  offering-guild  the  chief 
signed  with  the  figure  of  Thor's  hammer  both  the  cup  and 
the  meat      First  was  drunk  Odin's  cup,  for  victory  and 
power  to  the  king;  then  Niord'a  cup  and  Prey's,  for  a 
~ood  year  and  peace;  after  which  it  was  the  custom  with 
many  to  drink  a  Bragarfull3.     The  peculiarity  of  this  cup 
was/that  it  was  the  cup  of  vows,  that  on  drinking  it  a  vow 
was  made  to  perform  some  great  and  arduous  deed,  that 
might  be  made  a  subject  for  the  song  of  the  skald. 

From  the  foregoing  Bragi's  essence  seems  sufficiently 
manifest,  that  of  Idun  is  involved  in  obscurity.  < 
concerning  her  we  have  already  seen  (page  44),  the  other 
is  contained  in  Odin's  Ravens'  Song,  where  she  is  repre 
sented  as  having  sunk  down  from  Yggdrasil  s  ash  to  the 
lower  world.  Odin  then  sends  her  a  wolf's  guise,  and 
despatches  Heimdall,  accompanied  by  Bragi  and  Lopt,  to 
ascertain  from  her  what  she  had  been  able  to  discover 
respecting  the  duration  and  destruction  of  the  nether 
world  and  of  heaven;  when,  instead  of  answering  she 
bursts  forth  into  tears,  etc.  The  whole  is  wrapt  in  dense 
obscurity,  and  all  that  can  be  gathered  seems  to  be, 
she  is  the  goddess  that  presides  over  the  fresh  young 
verdure,  and  herein  to  be  compared  with  Proserpine,  the 
blooming  daughter  of  Ceres.  She  dwells  in  well-watered 
'  Helga-Qvi'Sa  Hading.  Str.  29,  30.  2  Ynglingas.  40. 

»  Hakonars.  go'Sa,  c.  16.    Full  signifies  cup. 


fields  (Brunnakr),  and  keeps  in  a  casket  the  apples  which 
preserve  the  gods  in  eternal  youth.  When  the  green 
vegetation  vanishes  from  the  earth,  she  falls,  through 
Loki,  as  it  is  mythically  expressed,  into  the  power  of  Thi- 
assi,  but  by  whom  she  is  again  liberated  in  the  spring. 
Or  she  sinks  down  from  Yggdrasil,  and  dwells  mute  and 
weeping  in  the  nether  world1." 

Saga  is  the  goddess  of  history  and  narration.  Her  name 
is  from  at  saga,  segja,  to  narrate,  that  of  her  abode,  Sock- 
qvabek2  (from  sokk,  sokkvi,  abyss,  gulf-,  at  sokkva,  to  sink, 
swallow),  in  allusion  to  the  abundant  and  flowing  stream 
of  narrative.  Sockqvabek  signifies  literally  the  sinking, 

As  king  of  mind,  Odin  procured  for  mankind  the  drink 
of  poesy3.  The  story  on  this  subject  has  not  reached  us 
in  its  most  ancient  form.  It  describes  in  the  usual  peri 
phrastic  manner  of  Antiquity,  the  preparation  of  the  in 
spiring  beverage,  must,  mead,  or  beer,  which,  as  long  as 
it  belongs  to  dwarfs  and  giants,  is  still  earthly,  only  with 
Odin  does  it  become  inspiring.  As  god  of  war,  he  ope 
rates  in  summer,  and  then  seeks  his  reward  ;  but  the  gift 
of  poesy  is  not  easily  acquired  :  Gunnlod  long  withstands 
his  embraces  ;  but  having  partaken  of  the  drink,  he  rises 
with  an  eagle's  flight  on  the  wings  of  inspiration. 

ILLUSTRATION.  —  The  difficulty  of  this  myth  lies  chiefly 
in  the  beginning  ;  though  it  is  sufficiently  obvious  that  it 
relates  to  the  preparation  of  the  drink4.  Kvasir  is  pro 
duced  from  the  saliva  of  the  ^Esir  and  Vanir.  The  Vanir, 
the  spirits  of  air  and  water,  supplied  the  watery  part,  the 
jEsir  the  inspiring.  This  also  appears  from  the  story  of 
Geirhild,  to  whom,  when  brewing,  Odin  gave  his  saliva 
for  barm,  and  the  beer  proved  of  the  most  excellent  kind5. 
Kvasir  then  is  fruit,  and  his  blood  must  or  wort.  He  died 

1  Miiller,  Altdeutsche  Religion,  p.  281.         2  Page  34.         3  Page  41. 
4  See  Lex.  Mythol.  p.  542.  6  H/Qfs  Saga>  cap  L 


in  his  own  wisdom,  and  in  himself  was  vapid.  The  dwarfs 
that  slew  him  and  squeezed  out  his  blood,  would  conse 
quently  he  those  who  stood  at  the  must-press.  Fialar's 
drink  sweetened  with  honey  is  then  the  poetic  drink,  must. 
But  the  myth  does  not  end  here ;  it  passes  on  to  the  pre 
paration  of  a  species  of  beer,  for  which  it  must  be  assumed 
that  must  was  also  employed.  The  name  Gilling  may  be 
referred  to  at  gilja,  to  separate,  and  in  Norse,  gil  is  the 
vessel  into  which  the  beer  passes1.  He  enters  a  boat  or 
vessel,  which  is  upset  in  the  great  ocean,  or  brewers'  vat ; 
here  the  barm  is  meant ;  and  the  wife  who  is  crushed  by 
the  millstone,  when  she  is  going  to  look  at  the  sea  where 
her  husband  was  drowned,  is  the  malt,  or  something 
similar,  that  is  ground.  All  this  would  probably  be  evi 
dent,  if  only  we  knew  how  the  ancients  prepared  their 
mungat2,  whether  it  was  a  sort  of  beer  mixed  with  must 
and  honey.  Suttung  (probably  for  Suptung)  seems  akin 
to  the  English  sup,  an  allusion  to  the  drinking  tendency 
of  the  giant  race ;  while  his  daughter,  Gunnlod,  represents 
the  beverage  itself.  Her  name  is  compounded  of  gunnr 
(A.  S.  guth)  war,  and  laSa,  to  invite-,  therefore  that  which 
invites  to  war  or  battle  •  the  liquor  which  also  inspires  the 
skald  to  overcome  all  obstacles  in  his  art.  The  vessel 
Odhrserir  (that  which  moves  the  mind)  expresses  the  effects 
of  the  drink.  The  same  may  possibly  be  the  case  with  the 
two  others,  Bodn  (invitation)  and  Son  (redemption,  or 
reconciliation).  Odin  now  comes  forth  as  Bolverk  (from 
bol,  calamity,  hardship,  bale,  and  virka,  to  work),  one  who 
performs  deeds  of  hardship.  When  he  causes  the  reapers 
to  kill  one  another  with  their  sithcs,  he  represents  the  god 
of  war;  when  he  enters  the  service  of  Baugi,  he  resembles 
the  reaper  who,  when  the  labours  of  summer  are  over,  is 
rewarded  with  song.  The  giant  Baugi  signifies  the  bowed, 

1  Hallager,  sub  voce. 

2  A  sort  of  beer ;  '  cerevisia  secundaria.'     Biorn  Haldorsen,  sub  voce. 


but  why  Bolverk  enters  his  service  cannot  be  explained. 
The  auger  or  borer,  Rati,  is  derived  from  at  rata,  to  find 
the  way.  Hnitbiorg  signifies  a  group  of  close,  impenetrable 
mountains.  This  myth,  though  not  wholly  devoid  of 
beauty,  is,  in  the  form  in  which  it  appears  in  the  Prose 
Edda,  as  insipid  as  most  of  the  far-fetched  periphrases  of 
the  old  Northern  poetry.  It  has  more  than  once,  in  later 
times,  served  as  the  subject  of  comic  fiction. 

Vidar1  is  the  son  of  Odin  and  of  the  giantess  Grid,  who 
dwells  in  a  mountain-cave,  and  guards  the  descent  to  the 
giant-chieftain's  abode  in  the  interior  of  the  mountain2. 
The  name  of  his  habitation,  Landvidi  (the  wide,  boundless 
land),  marks  him  for  lord  of  the  thick,  impervious  woods, 
which,  through  Odin's  power,  rear  their  summits  on  the 
huge  inaccessible  mountains,  where  axe  never  sounded, 
where  man's  footsteps  never  trod,  where  human  voice  was 
never  heard.  Rightly,  therefore,  is  he  named  the  Silent. 
Vidar  is  the  imperishability  of  nature,  her  incorruptible 
power.  Who  has  ever  wandered,  or  even  imagined  him 
self  a  wanderer,  through  such  forests,  in  a  length  of  many 
miles,  in  a  boundless  expanse,  without  a  path,  without  a 
goal,  amid  their  monstrous  shadows,  their  sacred  gloom, 
without  being  filled  with  deep  reverence  for  the  sublime 
greatness  of  nature  above  all  human  agency,  without  feel 
ing  the  grandeur  of  the  idea  which  forms  the  basis  of  Vi- 

1  Finn  Magnusen  rejects  the  story  of  Vidar's  shoe  made  of  shreds  of 
leather  (p.  29)  as  a  nursery  tale.     For  the  same  reason  he  might,  I  fear, 
have  rejected  a  vast  deal  more.     Keyser  derives  his  name  from  at  vinna, 
to  conquer,  in  allusion  to  his  victory  in  the  last  conflict  with  the  gods 
(p.  82),  and  thinks  he  may  be  an  emblem  of  the  regenerative  power  which 
is  supposed  to  be  in  the  earth.     Therefore  is  he  a  son  of  Odin  and  a 
giantess,  of  spirit  and  matter ;  therefore  is  his  habitation  Landvifti,  the 
wide  earth ;  therefore  is  he  the  silent,  inactive  god  in  the  world's  present 
state.     Not  until  its  destruction  does  he  come  forth   in   his  strength, 
overcoming  the  powers  of  darkness  and  destruction,  and  finally  dwells 
in  the  regenerated  world.     Relig.  Forfatn.  pp.  39,  40. 

2  Pages  29,  53. 


dar's  essence  ?  This  great  nature  was  familiar  to  Antiquity, 
which  dwelt,  as  it  were,  in  her  lap;  and  we  must  feel 
veneration  for  the  ancients,  who  neglected  not  to  conceive 
and  ennoble  the  idea  of  her  infinite  creative  power,  even 
without  any  view  to  man.  The  blooming  fields  they  glori 
fied  in  Fulla,  the  whole  cultivated  earth  in  Frigg,  the 
grass-grown  mountain  in  Sif l  ;  the  boundless  woods  must 
also  have  their  divinity.  Around  the  dwellings  of  men 
Erey  and  his  elves  hold  sway.  He  is  mild  and  beneficent, 
he  loves  the  earth  and  its  swelling  seed ;  but  Vidar  is  silent 
and  still ;  after  Thor  he  is  the  strongest ;  he  moves  not 
among  men,  he  is  rarely  named  among  the  gods,  but  he 
survives  the  destruction  of  the  world,  of  the  gods,  and  of 
mankind.  With  Earth  Odin  begat  Thor;  with  Frigg, 
Baldur ;  with  Rind,  Vali ;  but  with  a  giantess,  Vidar,  the 
connection  between  the  eternal  creative  power  of  matter 
and  spirit.  These  gods  and  these  men  shall  pass  away, 
but  neither  the  creative  power  in  nature,  Vidar,  nor  in 
man,  Hoenir,  shall  ever  have  an  end. 

ILLUSTRATION. — The  name  of  Vidar  is  formed  from 
vrSr,  a  wood,  forest.  His  abode,  Landvidi,  is  thus  de 
scribed  : — 

Begrown  with  branches 

and  with  high  grass 

is  Vidar's  dwelling2. 

His  leathern  or  iron  shoe  has  been  already  described3,  and 
in  the  Sagas  leather  is  mentioned  as  a  protection  against 
fire.  Hence  we  find  him  unscathed  presenting  the  drink 
ing-horn  to  Loki  at  Oegir's  banquet4;  nor  does  the  wolf 
Fenrir  harm  him,  but  he  seizes  it  and  rends  its  jaws 
asunder5.  All  this  pronounces  him  lord  of  the  iron  wood. 
According  to  Finn  Magnusen's  interpretation  of  this 
myth,  Vidar  is  neither  more  nor  less  than  the  phenomenon 

1  Pages  31,  34,  35.  2  Grimnism.  Str.  17. 

3  Page  29.  4  Loka-glepsa,  Str.  10.  5  Pages  79,  82. 


typhon,  or  the  water-spout.  That  this  illustration  has 
not  met  with  general  approval,  will  occasion  but  little  sur 
prise.  Geijer  considers  it  an  excellent  example  of  the  lucus 
a  non  lucendo1,  while  Rask  approved  of  it  as  the  best  he 
had  seen.  But  Vidar  is  not  one-footed  like  the  water 
spout,  nor  is  it  easy  to  imagine  the  latter  an  inhabitant  of 
Landvidi,  "begrown  with  branches  and  with  high  grass." 
In  general,  as  well  as  in  this  instance,  I  have  merely  en 
deavoured  to  represent,  as  clearly  as  I  could,  what  I  be 
lieved  to  have  found  in  the  Eddas,  without  any  wish  to 
give  greater  weight  to  my  own  opinions  than  to  those  of 
others,  or  than  they  deserved. 

When  the  ^Esir  had  entered  into  a  league  with  the 
Vanir2,  or  gods  of  the  air,  and  received  them  into  their 
community3,  fertility  and  abundance  prevailed  over  the 
earth.  Father  Niord  is  the  universal  nourishing  power 
in  air  and  water4;  he  rules  over  the  wind  and  the  sea,  at 
least  over  that  portion  of  it  which  is  nearest  to  and  encir 
cles  the  earth,  and,  consequently,  over  navigation  and 
fishing.  As  god  of  the  ocean  and  the  wind  he  appears 
very  manifestly  in  his  marriage  with  Skadi5,  who  would 
dwell  in  the  mountains  of  Thrymheim.  This  myth  re 
quires  no  elaborate  explanation,  as  every  one  will  readily 
perceive  that  it  represents  the  alternations  of  the  mild  sea- 
breezes  and  the  rough  gales  from  the  mountains. 

ILLUSTRATION. — The  origin  of  the  word  Niorflr  is  un 
certain;  it  has  been  referred  to  the  verb  at  nsera  (to 

1  Svearikes  Hafder,  i.  348. 

2  According  to  some  the  myth  of  the  war  between  the  jEsir  and  Vanir 
signifies  that  the  light  of  heaven  broke  through  the  dense  clouds  that 
originally  enveloped  the  earth,  in  order  to  produce  fertility,  which  is  sup 
posed  to  be  an  effect  of  the  combined  powers  of  heaven  and  the  cloudy 
atmosphere.  Others  interpret  it  as  a  contest  between  the  fire-worshipers 
and  the  water-worshipers,  which  was  ended  by  the  blending  of  the  two 
religions.     Keyser,  Relig.  Forfatn.  pp.  35,  36. 

3  Page  14.  4  Page  24.  *  Page  45. 



nourish).  He  is  supposed  to  be  identical  with  the  Ger 
man  goddess  Nerthus,  the  Gothic  form  of  which,  Nairjms1, 
may  be  either  masculine  or  feminine2.  Niord's  habitation 
is  Noatun,  the  place  of  ships,  i.  e.  the  sea,  from  nor,  nos 
(vafc,  navis)  ship,  and  tun,  an  enclosed  place,  house  and 
land.  SkaSi  signifies  the  hurtful.  Her  habitation,  Thrym- 
heim,  is  from  )?rymr,  noise,  uproar,  and  bears  allusion  to 
the  stormy  winds. 

Far  more  conspicuous  than  Niord  are  his  children,  Frey 
and  Freyia4,  who  spread  the  fructifying  power  of  the  air 
over  the  earth,  and  bring  abundance  around  and  into  the 
dwellings  of  men.     Frey  gives  fruitfulness  to  the  earth, 
Freyia  to  human  beings.    Frey  rules  over  the  Light-elves, 
and  their  united  influence  brings  good  years  and  prosperity. 
In  the  most  spirited  of  the  Eddaic  poems,  SkirmYs  Jour 
ney5,  is  described  Frey's  longing  to  impart  his  blessings 
to  the  earth.     Earth,  with  the  seed  deposited  in  it,  as 
Gerd,  resists  his  embraces.     His  messenger,  Skirnir,  who 
impels  the  seed  forth  into  the  light,  vainly  promises  her 
the  harvest's  golden  fruit,  and  a  ring  dripping  with  abun 
dance.     From  her  giant  nature,  not  yet  quickened  by  the 
divine  spirit,  she  has  no  idea  of  the  benefits  that  will 
accrue  to  her  through  Frey's  love;  Skirnir  must  impress 
on  her  mind  how,  without  Frey's  embraces,  she  will  to  all 
eternity  be  the  bride  of  the  frost-giant  Hrimnir,  and  never 
feel  the  joys  of  conception.    She  yields  herself  up  to  Frey, 
and  they  embrace  when  the  buds  burst  in  the  woods. 

Freyia's  abode  is  Folkvang;  she  has  her  dwelling  amid 
the  habitations  of  people,  and  fills  them  with  abundance. 
Her  hall  is  Sessrymnir,  the  roomy-seated.  But  her  mflu- 
i  The  identity  of  the  names  seems  unquestionable;  but  how  is  the  ac 
count  here  given  of  Niord  as  » the  universal  nourishing  power  in  air  and 
water"  and  "as  god  of  the  ocean  and  the  wind,"  etc.  to  be  reconciled 
with  what  Tacitus  says  of  Nerthus:  «  Nerthum.  id  est  Terram  matrem, 

,  D.  M.  p.  197.         3  Page  25.          <  Page  32.        •  Page  46. 


ence  is  also  pernicious ;  seeing  that  as  many  fall  through 
the  frantic  power  of  love  as  before  the  sword  of  the  god  of 
war.  Her  chariot  is  drawn  by  cats,  an  emblem  of  fond 
ness  and  passion.  She  longs  constantly  after  Od,  the 
intoxicating  pleasure  of  love,  and  by  him  has  a  daughter, 
Hnos,  the  highest  enjoyment.  Her  tears  and  ornaments 
are  of  gold ;  for  she  is  beautiful  and  fascinating  even  in  her 
grief.  She  travels  far  and  wide,  and  assumes  many  names 
and  forms  among  the  children  of  men  *,  as  various  as  are 
her  operations  on  their  minds  :  for  one  is  the  sacred  joy  of 
marriage,  whose  fruit  is  a  numerous  offspring ;  for  another, 
only  the  impure  pleasure  of  the  senses. 

The  nature  of  Frey  and  Freyia  seems  quite  compre 
hensible,  if  we  confine  ourselves  to  the  accounts  in  the 
Eddas,  and  not  mingle  with  them  the  ideas  of  other  na 
tions.  As  god  of  the  year,  Frey  presides  over  sunshine 
and  rain,  without  which  no  seed  would  germinate.  Frey 
and  Freyia  denote,  in  the  Scandinavian  and  kindred 
tongues,  Master  and  Mistress.  Frey  is  particularly  repre 
sented  as  lord  of  men;  and  Snorri  remarks  that  from 
Freyia  high-born  women  are  called  freyior  (frur),  Dan. 
Fruer;  Ger.  Frauen.  The  word  freyr  (the  feminine  of 
which  is  freya)  denotes  either  the  fructifying,  or  the  mild, 
joyous  ',  Ger.  froh.  Both  these  interpretations  spring  from 
a  common  root,  which  is  to  be  found  in  many  tongues, 
having  reference  to  earthly  fertility,  enjoyment,  joy,  etc. ; 
comp.  Lat.  fruor,  frumentum. 

Frey  obtained  dominion  over  the  Light-elves  in  the  be 
ginning  of  time,  i.  e.  of  the  year  (i  ardogum).  Skirnir 
(from  skirr,  pure,  clear)  is  the  clarifier,  that  which  brings  the 
pure,  clear  air.  Gerd  (GerSr)  is  from  gera,  to  do,  make,  as 
in  akrgerS,  agriculture.  As  she  dwells  in  the  mansion  of 
Gymir,  the  allusion  may  possibly  be  to  the  word  garS,  en 
closure,  court,  garth.  When  represented  as  Frigg's  rival, 

1  Pages  32,  sqq. 


the    allusion   is   perhaps   to  the  earth  prepared  by  the 
plough;  but  when,  in  Skirnir's  journey,  she  is  described 
as  a  beautiful  girl,  with  bright,  shining  arms,  the  image 
is  without  doubt  borrowed  from  the  seed,  the  bright,  yel 
low  corn,  so  beneficial  to  man.     She  is  of  giant  race,  of 
earth,  and  as  yet  dead,  but,  nevertheless,  fair  and  fertile. 
Her  resemblance  to  Ceres  is  evident :   Geres,  quod  gent 
fruges1;  O.  Nor.  gera,  ger$i;  Lat.  gero,  gessi.    Barn,  or 
Barey,  is  the  wood  or  isle  of  germs  or  buds,  from  bar,  bud, 
the  eye  in  a  tree,  the  winged  seed.     When  the  god  of  fruit- 
fulness  embraces  the  seed,  it  shoots  forth;  and  that  takes 
place   with   the   aid   of   Skirnir.     Gerd's   father,    Gymir 
(Geymir),  denotes  one  who  keeps,  lays  by.     Her  mother's 
name,  Aurboda,  alludes  to  the  material,  earthly  substance 
that  is  not  yet  developed.     Prey  parted  with  his  sword. 
This  seems  to  indicate  that  he  lost  his  fertilizing  power : 
he  gave  it  to  Skirnir,  but  whether  the  latter  retained  it, 
or  what  became  of  it,  does  not  appear  from  the  myth.   He 
does  not  require  it  in  his  combat  with  Beli2.     The  myth 
respecting  Beli  is  not  complete,  and,  therefore,  obscure. 
It  may,  however,  be  noticed  that  the  interpreters  take  him 
for  Gerd's  brother,  of  whom  she  says,  that  she  is  fearful 
Skirnir  will  be  her  brother's  destroyer3.     We  may  here 
also  observe,  that  in  the  Lokaglepsa4  two  attendants  are 
attributed   to  Frey,  Beyggvir  and   his   wife   Beyla.     Of 
Beyggvir  Loki  says,  that  he  is  a  little,  pert  being  that  is 
always  hanging  at  the  ear  of  Frey,  and  makes  a  rattling 
under  or  by  the  hand-mill ;  that  he  can  never  distribute 
meat  to  men,  and  that  he  hid  himself  in  the  bed-straw 
when  men  contended.     Of  Beyla  he  says,  that  she  is  full 
of  evil,  and  that  an  uglier  monster  never  came  among  the 
^sir/nor  a  dirtier  slut.     Professor  Petersen  considers  it 
evident  that  by  Beyggvir  the  refuse  of  the  mill,  as  chaff, 
i  Varro  de  L.  L.  v.  64.  2  Pages,  49,  79,  81. 

3  Skirnis-for,  Str.  16  and  page  47.  '  Str.  44 


etc.  is  signified,  and  that  Beyla  is  the  manure  which  soft- 
ens  and  develops  the  seed  that  is  put  in  the  earth. 
Professor  F.  Magnusen  supposes  Beyggvir  and  his  wife  to 
be  two  little  parhelia  attendant  upon  Frey,  the  solar  di 
vinity.  Frey's  ship,  Skidbladnir1,  belonged  according  to 
some  to  Odin,  or,  in  general,  to  all  the  gods2.  Frey  ob 
tained  it  in  days  of  old  (i  ardogum),  ,'.  e.  in  the  early  part 
of  the  year,  when  navigation  commences.  His  hog  Gul- 
Imbursti,  gold-bristled,  is  probably  an  emblem  of  the 
earth's  fertility.  With  the  ship  of  Frey  is  no  doubt  con 
nected  the  custom,  formerly  prevailing  in  some  parts  of 
Germany,  of  carrying  about  a  ship  and  a  plough,  in  the 
beginning  of  spring*;  both  the  one  and  the  other  with 
reference  to  Frey,  as  the  god  of  agriculture  and  prosperity. 
Freyia  is  the  chief  of  the  Valkyriur,  and  like  them  a 
chooser  of  the  slain4. 

OEGIR  AND  RAN.—  As  Niord  is  the  mild  sea  of  the 
coast,  so  is  Oegir  the  wild,  raging,  more  distant  ocean, 
which  is,  nevertheless,  in  contact  with  the  agency  of  the 
^Esir;  hence  the  double  nature  of  Oegir;  he  is  a  giant, 
and  yet  has  friendly  intercourse  with  the  JEsir.  In  Mi- 
mir,  Oegir  and  Niord  we  thus  have  the  entire  ocean  from 
its  origin  to  its  last  development,  where  like  a  benevolent 
divinity  it  attaches  itself  to  the  ^Esir,  that  is,  to  men 
Oegir  and  Hler  are  usually  considered  as  one  and  the  same 
deity5.  Oegir  visits  the  JEsir  in  Asgard,  where  Bragi  re 
lates  to  him  those  narratives  in  Snom's  Edda,  which  are 
called  BragarseSur,  or  discourses  of  Bragi6.  The  ^Esir  re 
turned  his  visit,  on  which  occasion  they  remark  that  his 

1  Page  39.     Grimnism.  Str.  43.  2  Ynglingas  c  7 

3  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  242.  4  p"*  gf"  °'  7' 

"  Forniot  had  three  sons;  one  was  named  H1&,  whom  we  call  (Erir 

rornald-  S6s-  "•  " 

Snorra-Edda,  p.  79. 


brewing  kettle  is  not  large  enough,  and  Thor  accompanied 
by  Ty  fetches,  as  we  have  seen,  a  more  capacious  one  from 
the  giant  Hymir1.  After  Baldur's  death  the  ^Esir  visit 
him  a  second  time,  when  Loki  comes  and  vents  all  his 
spleen  on  them.  Here  we  learn  that  he  has  two  serving- 
men,  Fimafeng  (Funafeng)  and  Eldir;  that  bright  gold 
was  used  in  his  hall  instead  of  fire,  and  that  Oegir  himself 
handed  the  beer  round2.  Oegir's,  or  Han's,  or  their 
daughters'  fire  is  a  skaldic  periphrasis  for  gold3. 

ILLUSTRATION. — The  whole  myth  is  simple  and  intelli 
gible.  Oegir  is  the  stormy  ocean,  from  oga,  to  dread,  shud 
der  at.  His  wife's  name,  Ran,  signifies  plunder,  robbery. 
It  is  a  common  expression  in  the  North  that  the  ocean 
brews  and  boils,  which  serves  to  illustrate  Oegir's  kettles ; 
the  frothy  drink  also  bears  itself  round,  and  there  is  plenty 
of  it.  Equally  common  is  the  idea  of  the  ocean's  surge, 
which  in  its  most  violent  motion  becomes  phosphorescent. 
Seafaring  men  have  much  to  relate  of  the  shining  of  the 
sea,  which  is  ascribed  to  insects.  Oegir's  servants  are, 
therefore,  good  stokers.  Eldir  is  from  ellda,  to  make  a  fire, 
and  Fimafeng  is  the  rapid,  agile.  (Funafengr  is  probably 
from  funi,  fire).  His  daughters'  names,  as  we  have  already 
remarked,  denote  waves4.  With  Oegir  is  associated  an  idea 
of  the  terrific ;  hence  the  Oegishialmr  belonging  to  Faf- 
nir,  at  which  all  living  beings  were  terrified5. 

The  attributes  of  Heimdall,  as  far  as  they  are  not  de 
scriptive  of  the  vigilant  guardian,  are  derived  from  the 
rainbow.  He  is  a  Van,  because  the  rainbow  appears  in 
the  sky.  He  is,  at  the  same  time,  Odin's  son,  as  being 
superhuman.  His  mothers,  the  nine  giantesses,  are  the 
aqueous,  earthy,  and,  on  account  of  their  brightness,  the 
metallic  parts  of  which  the  rainbow  was  thought  to  con- 

1  Hymiskv.  Str.  1,  sqq.  and  page  67.  2  Lokaglepsa,  Introd. 

3  Skaldskap.  33.  4  Page  27.  5  Page  97,  note  2. 


sist.  Here  there  is  no  allusion  to  the  number  of  the  co 
lours  of  the  rainbow,  which  are  given  as  three,  but  to  their 
appearance.  He  is  called  Golden-tooth,  because  of  the 
beauty  of  the  rainbow,  and  Descending  (HallinskerSi), 
because  of  its  curved  figure1. 

ILLUSTRATION. — HeimJ?allr  is  derived  from  heimr,  the 
world,  and  )?allr  or  dallr,  a  tree  which  sends  forth  shoots 
and  branches.  This  word  is  the  same  with  ]?ollr,  a  long 
pole',  the  name  HeimJ>allr  will  therefore  signify  the  pole 
or  post  of  the  world.  The  rainbow  also,  when  incomplete, 
is  still  by  the  Northern  nations  called  a  Veirstolpe  (Veir- 
stotte),  literally  a  weather-post;  and  the  Slavonic  word 
for  the  rainbow,  duga,  signifies  strictly  the  stave  of  a  cask*. 
The  ancients  must  therefore  have  had  in  view  the  rain 
bow's  rarely  perfect  figure ;  but  when  it  appeared  in  its 
full  beauty,  like  a  broad  bridge,  it  is  easy  to  conceive  why 
they  called  it  Bifrost,  or  the  trembling,  swinging  way,  lead 
ing  from  earth  to  heaven3.  Its  curved  figure  gave  occasion 
also  for  regarding  it  as  a  horn,  one  end  of  which  was  at 
Gioll  (the  horizon),  the  other  at  Himinbiorg  (the  heavenly 
mountains,  i.  e.  the  clouds),  whence  Heimdall  raised  his 
Giallar-horn,  as  it  is  said, 

Early  up  Bifrost 
ran  Ulfran's  son, 
the  mighty  horn-blower 
of  Himinbiorg4. 

By  nine,  the  number  of  HeimdalPs  mothers,  nothing 
more  seems  implied  than  its  well-known  sanctity  among 
almost  all  the  people  of  antiquity.  The  number  of  Oegir's 
daughters  is  also  nine5.  Heimdall  descended  among  man- 

1  Page  29.  2  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  695. 

3  It  was  believed  that  at  the  place  where  the  rainbow  rises,  a  golden 
dish  or  a  treasure  was  hidden,  and  that  gold  money  falls  from  the  rainbow. 

4  Hrafnag.  0)>ms,  str.  26.  «  page  27. 



kind  under  the  name  of  Rig1,  whence  the  whole  human 
race  are  called  children  of  Heimdall2.  In  the  contest  be 
tween  Heimdall  and  Loki  for  the  Brisinga-men3,  the  idea 
seems  to  lie  that  fire  and  the  rainbow  vie  with  each  other 
in  displaying  the  most  beautiful  colours. 

From  the  foregoing  attempt  to  illustrate  the  mythology 
of  the  Scandinavian  nations,  it  appears  that  their  gods  were 
neither  more  nor  less  than  figurative  representations  of  the 
agency  of  nature  and  mankind.  Nothing  is  there  without 
signification,  yet  there  is  nothing  that  lies  without  the 
pale  of  our  forefathers'  experience,  or  that  is  incompatible 
with  the  manner  in  which  Antiquity  was  wont  to  conceive 
it.  Heaven  and  earth  are  the  two  great  leading  ideas 
which  comprise  the  others ;  between  both  are  sea  and  air. 
Thunder  and  the  rainbow  are  the  two  most  prominent  na 
tural  phenomena,  which  first  and  most  impressively  must 
excite  the  attention  of  mankind.  The  Northman  was  en 
compassed  with  bare  ice-mountains,  nearer  to  him  were 
high  hills  and  boundless  forests ;  but  immediately  around 
his  dwelling  was  the  fertile  field.  Plenty  and  contentment 
at  home,  and  the  bloody  game  of  war  abroad,  were  his 

1  Rigsmal.  This  forms  the  subject  of  the  Eddaic  poem  Rigsmal.  Heim 
dall,  one  of  the  ^Esir,  wanders  in  green  ways  along  the  sea-strand.     He 
calls  himself  Rig  (Rigr) ;  he  is  strong,  active  and  honourable.    In  a  hut  he 
finds  a  great-grandfather  and  a  great-grandmother  (ai  and  edda),  with 
whom  he  stays  three  nights.     Nine  months  after,  the  old  woman  gives 
birth  to  the  swarthy  thrall,  from  whom  the  race  of  thralls  descends.    Rig 
wanders  further  and  finds  in  a  house  a  grandfather  and  a  grandmother 
(afi  and  amma).     Nine  months  after,  the  grandmother  gives  birth  to  a 
boy,  the  progenitor  of  the  peasant  race.     Rig  proceeds  still  further,  and 
finds  in  a  hall  a  father  and  mother,  and  nine  months  after,  the  mother 
brings  forth  Jarl  (earl).     Jarl  marries  Erna,  a  daughter  of  Hersir  (baron), 
and  the  youngest  of  their  sons  is  the  young  Konr  (Konr  ungr,  contr. 
konungr,  king).   The  last-mentioned  are  objects  of  Rig's  especial  care;  he 
is  solicitous  not  only  with  regard  to  their  birth,  but  for  their  instruction 
and  culture,  thus  affording  a  striking  example  of  the  aristocratic  spirit 
that  prevailed  in  the  North  from  the  remotest  period. 

2  Voluspa,  Str.  1.  3  Page  29. 


earthly  desires.  What  wonder  then,  if  he  imagined  all 
around  him  to  be  animated  by  divine  beings,  which  he 
represented  with  all  the  sagacity  he  possessed  ?  But  this 
conception  of  physical  images  was  not  without  application 
to  his  intellectual  and  moral  nature.  This  connection  was 
so  close,  that  it  is  inseparable  even  in  language,  and  every 
where  we  meet  with  proofs  that  Antiquity  also  raised  it 
self  to  this  higher  conception.  Odin  is  not  only  lord  over 
the  whole  physical  world,  but  is  king  also  of  the  intellec 
tual.  Heimdall  is  not  only  the  rainbow,  but  is,  at  the 
same  time,  the  benignant  announcer  of  the  divine  care. 
Thor  is  not  only  the  thunder,  but  also  courage  and  strength. 
Vidar  is  not  only  lord  of  the  boundless  forests,  but  is  in 
corruptibility  itself.  Baldur  is  not  alone  the  god  of  sum 
mer,  but  is  also  all  goodness  and  piety.  Ty  is  not  only 
war,  but  is  also  honour  and  glory.  Frey  and  Freyia  are 
not  alone  givers  of  fruitfulness,  but,  at  the  same  time,  the 
germinating,  blooming  and  beatifying,  the  boundless  love 
in  the  breast  of  man.  Nor  is  Loki  the  god  of  fire  alone, 
but  is  also  the  origin  of  all  evil  and  the  father  of  lies. 
Hence  proceeds  the  multitude  of  names  and  epithets 
(always  significant,  though  we  may  not  always  be  able  to 
explain  them)  that  are  applied  to  the  gods ;  they  express 
their  natures  from  different  points  of  view,  and  describe 
their  characters.  Loki,  for  instance,  is  active,  shrewd  of 
speech,  cunning,  inventive,  sagacious,  false,  wicked ;  Baldur 
is  white  (bright),  good-,  Heimdall  holy,  white;  Thor  is 
large,  strong,  not  remarkably  clever,  but  good-natured  with 
all  his  strength,  etc.  etc.  In  describing  Odin,  the  old,  ve 
nerable,  long-bearded,  one-eyed  being,  in  all  his  might,  wis 
dom,  goodness,  austerity  and  ferocity ;  in  all  his  manifes 
tations  in  heaven  and  on  earth,  the  Old  Norse  language 
employed  all  its  riches,  a  far  greater  store  than  can  now  be 
furnished  from  the  combined  stores  of  its  descendants. 


A  people  that  raised  their  thoughts  to  beings  higher  than 
heaven  and  earth,  must  naturally,  at  the  same  time,  be 
lieve  in  the  cessation  of  that  heaven  and  earth.  Before 
the  gods  existed  there  were  higher  powers,  from  whose 
breath  all  creation  drew  life.  These  could  annihilate  their 
own  work,  though  its  nobler  part  might  not  pass  away, 
which  is  as  imperishable  as  themselves.  To  these  ideas 
leads  also  the  consideration  of  nature  herself.  The  cir 
cumvolution  on  a  small  scale  is  repeated  on  a  larger ;  the 
darkness  of  night  and  the  light  of  day  are  a  reduced  repe 
tition  of  the  interchange  of  winter  and  summer,  and  both 
amplified  are  prefigurations  of  the  destruction  and  renewal 
of  all  nature.  This  time  or  age  is  brought  forth  like  every 
other,  and  must,  therefore,  like  every  other,  pass  away; 
but  as  the  year  is  renewed,  in  like  manner  shall  time  also 
be  renewed.  In  the  myth  of  Baldur's  death  with  its  con 
clusion,  the  birth  of  Vali,  the  idea  of  Ragnarock  is  so  evi 
dent,  that  the  one  cannot  well  be  conceived  without  draw 
ing  with  it  the  presence  of  the  other.  The  death  of 
summer  is  a  presage  of  the  downfall  of  the  gods,  which 
begins  with  the  great,  severe  winter  (fimbul-vetr) .  All 
nature  is  described  as  agitated  by  the  storms  of  autumn, 
snow  drifts,  frost  prevails,  fire  struggles  in  its  bonds,  and 
the  earth  is  filled  with  conflict.  The  powers  of  darkness 
unite  with  the  super-celestial  spirits,  and  fire  and  water 
desolate  the  world.  The  sun  and  moon  were  also  created, 
and  they  shall  be  swallowed  by  the  pursuing  wolves. 
But  a  new  earth  shoots  forth,  a  new  human  race  appears, 
a  new  sun  beams  in  the  heaven.  Of  the  moon  there  is 
no  more  mention,  for  there  will  be  no  more  night.  The 
noblest  of  the  gods  return  to  their  pristine  innocence  and 
joy.  The  nature  that  had  until  then  prevailed  is  perished 
with  Odin,  but  Vidar  and  Vali  live,  imperishable  nature 
survives  and  blooms  like  the  ever-youthful  year.  Baldur 
and  Hod  live  peaceably  together,  there  is  no  longer  strife 


between  summer  and  winter,  light  and  darkness.  Thor 
no  more  thunders,  but  his  strength  and  courage  pervade 
nature  as  Modi  and  Magni.  Freyia  with  her  sensual  plea 
sure  is  no  more,  but  Hoenir,  the  unperishing  sensitive 
faculty,  continues  to  operate  in  the  new  human  race. 
Earth's  former  creatures  live  now  in  heaven.  As  indivi 
dual  heroes  could  be  renewed  and  regenerated  here  on 
earth,  so  were  chosen  bands  of  warriors  assembled  in  Va!- 
hall,  for  the  purpose  of  continuing,  while  the  earthly  age 
lasted,  the  best  of  earthly  occupations;  but  even  in  life 
there  was  something  higher  than  warfare — peace;  battle 
itself  shall,  therefore,  cease  with  the  great  battle  of  na 
ture,  and  all  the  gods  be  assembled  in  Gimli,  the  abode  of 
peace  and  innocence.  Over  this  a  new  heaven  will  be 
spread,  where  the  benignant  and  protecting  elves  will 
watch  over  mankind  as  of  old  in  earthly  life.  Even  dwarfs 
and  giants  shall  all  live  in  peace.  The  Mighty  One  shall 
come  from  above  and  sit  in  judgement;  there  shall  be  an 
eternal  separation  between  good  and  evil,  which  had  pre 
viously  been  confounded.  An  everlasting  reward  shall 
await  the  good,  everlasting  torment  the  evil.  Beyond  this 
no  eye  may  see. 

ILLUSTRATION. — Ragnarock,  the  darkness  or  twilight  of 
the  gods  (from  regin,  gen.  pi.  ragna,  deus,  potestas,  and 
rockr,  twilight,  darkness) .  That  wolves  pursued  and  would 
swallow  up  the  sun  and  moon,  is  a  general  figure  to  ex 
press  the  eclipse  of  the  heavenly  bodies.  The  solar  wolf 
has  also  been  explained  to  be  a  parhelion1.  Egdir,  the 
eagle,  and  Fialar,  and  the  other  two  cocks2,  do  not  strictly 
belong  to  Ragnarock,  but  to  the  previous  state  of  the 
world.  What  they  signify  is  extremely  obscure,  or,  rather, 
unknown.  Who  the  two  brothers  are,  whose  sons  shall 
inhabit  Vindheim3,  is  quite  uncertain  :  some  suppose  them 
to  be  Thor  and  Baldur.  Gimli  is  the  clear,  bright  heaven ; 
1  Lex.  Mythol.  p.  414,  note.  2  Page  78.  3  Page  83. 


Vidblain  and  Andlang,  the  spacious  blue  heaven,  the 
boundless  aether;  Okolnir,  the  warm  (lit.  the  uncold).  Cold 
had  hitherto  been  the  lot  of  the  giants,  but  now  they  also 
shall  share  in  the  warmth ;  to  this  also  the  name  Brimir 
alludes,  from  brimi,  fire.  Nastrond  is  from  na,  a  corpse, 
therefore  the  strand  of  corpses.  Slid  (SlrSr)  signifies  the 
sluggish  or  pernicious ;  Nidhogg,  the  serpent  of  darkness, 
or  envy.  The  idea  of  all  nature  awaiting  a  deliverance 
from  the  existing  state  of  things,  and  a  renewal  or  exalta 
tion  of  its  blunted  powers,  is  deeply  impressed  on  the 
human  mind;  it  is  also  Oriental,  but  manifests  itself 
among  several  nations  under  various  forms,  though  essen 
tially  the  same. 




As  belonging  to  the  province  of  Northern  mythology, 
it  has  been  deemed  desirable  to  add  an  account  of  the 
celebrated  Grottasavngr,  or  Mill-song l,  which  is  to  be 
found  in  every  MS.  of  Ssemund's  Edda,  except  the  parch 
ment  one  in  the  Royal  Library  at  Copenhagen. 

King  Frodi  (Fro]?i)  paid  a  visit  to  King  Fiolnir  in 
Sweden,  and  there  bought  two  female  slaves,  called  Fenia 
and  Menia,  who  were  both  large  and  strong.  At  that  time 
there  were  found  in  Denmark  two  millstones  so  large  that 
no  one  was  able  to  drag  them.  These  millstones  had  the 
property  that  they  produced  whatever  the  grinder  wished 
for.  The  mill  was  called  Grotti.  Hengikiaptr  (hanging 
jaw)  was  the  name  of  him  who  gave  the  mill  to  Frodi. 
King  Frodi  caused  the  slaves  to  be  led  to  the  millstones, 
and  ordered  them  to  grind  gold,  and  peace,  and  prosperity 
to  Frodi,  giving  them  no  longer  rest  or  sleep  than  while 
the  cuckoo  was  silent  or  a  song  might  be  sung.  It  is  said 
that  they  then  sung  the  song  called  Grottasavngr,  and 
before  they  left  off,  that  they  ground  an  army  against 
Frodi;  so  that  in  the  same  night  there  came  a  sea-king 
called  Mysing,  who  slew  Frodi,  and  took  great  spoil.  My- 
sing  took  with  him  the  mill  Grotti,  together  with  Fenia 
and  Menia,  and  ordered  them  to  grind  salt.  At  midnight 
they  asked  Mysing  whether  he  had  salt  enough  ?  He 
bade  them  go  on  grinding.  They  had  ground  but  a  little 
1  Skaldskap.  p.  146. 


more  when  the  ship  sank.  There  was  afterwards  a  whirl 
pool  in  the  ocean,,  where  the  water  falls  into  the  eye  of  the 
millstone,  and  thence  the  sea  became  salt. 

Professor  Petersen1  considers  the  myth  to  signify  the 
cultivation  of  the  land  during  peace,  and  the  prosperity 
consequent  thereupon,  that  prosperity  begets  desire,  and 
desire  war.  The  grinding  of  salt  is  a  later  adoption,  as  in 
the  latter  part  of  the  song  it  is  said  that  one  of  the  stones 
had  been  split  asunder  in  grinding  for  Frodi. 


Three  great  festivals  were  celebrated  every  year  in  the 
time  of  heathenism,  when  sacrifices  were  made  to  the 
gods.  The  first  was  held  at  the  new  year,  which  was 
reckoned  from  the  '  mother-night/  so  called  because  the 
new  year  sprang,  as  it  were,  out  of  her  lap.  The  month, 
which  began  then  with  the  first  new  moon,  was  called 
Yule-month  (Jule-tungel),  and,  from  the  sacrifice,  Thora- 
blot3,  which  was  then  chiefly  celebrated.  This  season,  even 
to  the  present  day,  is  called  Thorsmanad.  Kings  and  jarls, 
not  only  in  Sweden,  but  also  in  Denmark  and  Norway, 
held  at  this  time  their  great  sacrificial  meetings  or  guilds. 
Rich  land-holders  then  made  ready  their  Yule-beer  for 
friends  and  kindred ;  but  the  poorer,  who  had  no  wealthy 
relatives,  assembled  in  feastings,  to  which  they  all  con 
tributed,  and  drank  hop-6l  (social  beer).  On  these  occa 
sions  offerings  were  made  to  the  gods  for  a  prosperous 
year,  both  to  Odin  for  success  in  war,  and  to  Frey  for  a 
good  harvest.  Animals  of  various  kinds  were  slaughtered, 
but  the  principal  victim  was  a  hog,  which  was  especially 

1  Nordisk  Mythologie,  p.  221.  2  Afzelius,  i.  15. 

3  So  called,  it  is  supposed,  from  Thorri,  an  ancient  king  or  deity  of  the 
Fins  and  Lapps,  of  the  race  of  Forniot,  and  blot,  sacrifice.  See  Snorra- 
Edda,  ed.  Rask,  p.  358. 


sacred  to  Frey,  because  the  swine  is  supposed  to  have  first 
taught  mankind  to  plough  the  earth.  This  was  led  forth 
well  fattened  and  adorned ;  and  it  was  a  custom  to  make 
vows  over  the  sacred  hog,  and  pledge  themselves  to  some 
great  enterprise,  to  be  achieved  before  the  next  Yule- 
meeting  (Jula-mot).  Feastings,  bodily  exercises,  and  Yule- 
games  occupied  the  whole  of  this  month,  whence  it  was 
denominated  skamte-manad  (the  merry  month). 

Midwinter  sacrifice  was  the  second  grand  festival,  and 
took  place  on  the  first  new  moon  after  Yule-month,  to 
the  honour  of  Goa  or  Goa.  This  goddess  was  believed  to 
preside  over  the  fertility  of  the  earth,  and  to  be  a  daughter 
of  Thor.  Hence  in  many  places,  when  thunder  is  heard, 
the  people  still  say,  Goa  is  passing.  After  her  the  month 
of  February  is  called  Goje-manad.  At  a  later  period  this 
sacrifice  acquired  the  appellation  of  Disa-blot,  when  the 
celebrated  Queen  Disa,  whose  memory  is  still  preserved  in 
the  traditions  of  the  Swedish  people,  had  not  only  partaken 
in,  but  almost  superseded,  the  worship  of  Frigg  and  Goa 
at  this  festival.  The  story  of  Queen  Disa  is  usually  related 
as  follows : — 

When  King  Frey,  or,  according  to  other  accounts,  a 
King  Sigtrud,  far  back  in  the  times  of  heathenism,  ruled 
in  the  North,  the  population,  during  a  long  peace,  had  so 
greatly  increased,  that  one  year,  on  the  coming  of  winter, 
the  crops  of  the  preceding  autumn  were  already  consumed. 
The  king  therefore  summoned  all  the  commonalty  to  an 
assembly,  for  the  purpose  of  finding  a  remedy  for  the  im 
pending  evil,  when  it  was  decreed,  that  all  the  old,  the 
sickly,  the  deformed,  and  the  idle  should  be  slain  and 
offered  to  Odin.  When  one  of  the  king's  councillors, 
named  Siustin,  returned  from  the  assembly  to  his  dwelling 
in  Uppland,  his  daughter,  Disa,  inquired  of  him  what  had 
there  taken  place ;  and  as  she  was  in  all  respects  wise  and 
judicious,  he  recounted  to  her  what  had  been  resolved  on. 


On  hearing  it  she  said  she  could  have  given  better  counsel, 
and  wondered  that  among  so  many  men  there  was  found 
so  little  wisdom.     These  words  reached  at  length  the  ears 
of  the  king,  who  was  angry  at  her  boldness  and  conceit, 
and  declared  he  would  soon  put  her  to  her  wit's  end.    He 
promised  to  take  her  to  his  counsel,  but  on  condition  that 
she  should  come  to  him  not  on  foot  nor  on  horseback,  not 
driving  nor  sailing,  not  clad  nor  unclad,  not  in  a  year  nor 
a  month,  not  by  day  nor  by  night,  not  in  the  moon's  in 
crease  nor  wane.     Disa,  in  her  perplexity  at  this  order, 
prayed  to  the  goddess  Frigg  for  counsel,  and  then  went 
to  the  king  in  the  following  manner.     She  harnessed  two 
young  men  to  a  sledge,  by  the  side  of  which  she  caused 
a  goat  to  be  led ;  she  held  one  leg  in  the  sledge  and  placed 
the  other  on  the  goat,  and  was  herself  clad  in  a  net.   Thus 
she  came  to  the  king  neither  walking  nor  riding,   nor 
driving,  nor  sailing,  neither  clad  nor  unclad.     She  came 
neither  in  a  current  year  nor  month,  but  on  the  third  day 
before  Yule,  one  of  the  days  of  the  solstice,  which  were  not 
reckoned  as  belonging  to  the  year  itself,  but  as  a  comple 
ment,  and  in  like  manner  might  be  said  not  to  belong  to 
any  month.     She  came  neither  in  the  increase  nor  in  the 
wane,  but  just  at  the  full  moon ;  neither  by  day  nor  by 
night,  but  in  the  twilight.     The  king  wondered  at  such 
sagacity,  ordered  her  to  be  brought  before  him,  and  found 
so  great  delight  in  her  conversation,  beauty  and  under 
standing,  that  he  made  her  his  queen.    Following  her  ad 
vice,  he  then  divided  the  people  into  two  portions,  one  of 
which,  according  to  lot,  he  furnished  with  arms,  hunting 
gear,   and  as  much  seed-corn   as  would  suffice   for  one 
sowing,  and  sent  them  to  the  uninhabited  regions  of  the 
north,  there  to  establish  a  colony  and  cultivate  the  land. 
Much  other  good  counsel  this  queen  gave  for  the  benefit 
of  the  country,  for  which  she  was  loved  and  honoured  both 
by  king  and  people ;  and  so  highly  was  she  prized  for  her 


wisdom,  that  many  difficult  disputes  were  referred  to  her 
judgement  at  the  midwinter  sacrifice,  which  soon  acquired 
the  name  of  Disa-blot,  and  Disa-ting,  of  which  the  great 
winter  fair  at  Upsala  is  a  memorial. 

The  above  saga  has  been  variously  interpreted.     Ac 
cording  to  some,  Disa  will  represent  to  the  king  the  im 
portance  and  necessity  of  agriculture ;  she  herself,  neither 
clad  nor  unclad,  represents  the  earth  in  early  spring,  when, 
grass  here  and  there  is  beginning  to  shoot  forth,  but  does 
not  yet  deck  the  fields  with  green ;  the  trees  begin  with 
their  swelling  buds  to  show  signs  of  foliage,  but  still  lack 
their  beauteous,  leafy  summer  clothing.     Then  it  is  not 
good  to  travel,  neither  in  a  carriage  nor  a  sledge ;  then  is 
it  best  for  the  husbandman  to  watch  the  season,  to  be  ob 
servant  of  the  changes  and  influences  of  the  sun  and  moon, 
of  the  weather,  of  old  signs  and  tokens,  a  knowledge  of 
which  is  a  useful  heritage  from  his  forefathers'  experience. 

The  third  great  yearly  festival  was  held  at  the  begin- 
ning  of  spring,  for  prosperity  and  victory  by  land  and  sea, 
though  more  especially  for  the  naval  expeditions  or  '  vi- 
kingafarder/  in  which  almost  every  free-born,  warlike 
man  now  prepared  to  participate.  At  this  festival  Odin 
was  chiefly  invoked. 

According  to  a  superstition  derived  from  the  time  of 
heathenism,  the  quicken-tree  or  mountain-ash2  possesses 
great  occult  virtues.  A  staff  of  it  is  believed  to  be  a  pre 
servative  against  sorcery.  In  ancient  times  the  people 
made  a  part  of  their  ships  of  it,  supposing  it  to  be  good 
against  the  storms  raised  by  Ran.  The  superstition  ori 
ginated  in  the  aid  it  afforded  to  Thor3. 

1  Afzelius,  i.  21. 

2  The  Sorbus  aucuparia,  the  Rowan  of  the  Scottish  Highlanders 

3  Mythol.  p.  53. 



Spacious  and  magnificent  temples,  in  honour  of  the 
gods,  were  erected  in  many  parts  of  the   Scandinavian 
countries,  besides  which  there  were  stone-groups  or  altars 
for  sacrificial  purposes.     Such  a  pagan  altar  was  called  a 
horg,  whence  the  priestesses  attending  it  were  denominated 
horgabrudar.     By  every  horg  or  temple  there  was  a  sacred 
grove,  or  a  solitary  tree,  on  which  the  offerings  were  sus 
pended.     Such  trees  were  supposed  to  possess  great  virtue 
in  the  cure  of  diseases.     Hence  it  is  that  even  now  some 
trees  are  regarded  with  a  superstitious  veneration,  parti 
cularly  the  lime,  and  those  in  which  '  elf -holes/  or  open 
ings  formed  by  two  branches  that  have  grown  together, 
are  found.     These  are  often  cut  down  for  superstitious 
purposes.     Women,  who  have  difficult  labours,  are  drawn 
through  them,  and  have  thereby  not  unfrequently  lost 
their  lives ;  and  superstitious  persons  may  be  often  seen 
carrying  sickly  children  to  a  forest,  for  the  purpose  of 
dragging  them  through  such  holes. 

By  every  sacred  grove  there  was  a  well  or  fountain,  in 
which  the  offerings  were  washed. 


Besides  the  regular  priests,  the  Northern  nations  had 
also  their  wise  men  and  women,  or  soothsayers.  The 
principal  kinds  of  witchcraft  were  seid  (serSr)  and  galder 
(galdr) ;  though  there  seems  also  to  have  been  a  third 
species,  as  the  prophetesses  (volur),  prophets  (vitkar),  and 
seid-workers  (serS-berendr)  are  distinguished  from  each 
other,  and  spring  from  different  origins3.  Galder  is  a  de 
rivation  of  at  gala,  to  sing4,  and  consisted  in  producing 

1  Afzelius,  i.  18,  20. 

2  From  Petersen,  Danmarks  Historic  and  Keyser,  Relig.  Forfatn. 

3  Hyndlulj.  Str.  32.  4  Like  our  enchant. 


supernatural  effects  by  means  of  certain  songs,  or  by  cut 
ting  certain  runes.  This  in  itself  may  not  have  been  cri 
minal,  as  there  was  also  a  species  called  meingaldr  (from 
mem,  harm,  etc.),  by  which  something  evil  was  brought 
forth.  Groa  sang  over  the  stone  that  was  lodged  in  Thorns 
forehead1,  Oddrun  over  Borgny  when  the  latter  could  not 
bring  forth2.  A  particular  kind  of  galder  was  valgalder, 
by  which  the  dead  were  waked  and  made  to  converse,  that 
the  will  of  fate  might  be  known  from  their  mouth.  This 
is  ascribed  to  Odin,  who  sat  under  one  hanged  and  com 
pelled  him  to  speak,  or  went  down  to  the  nether  world, 
waked  the  dead  Vala,  and  made  her  prophesy3.  We  also 
find  that  Hardgrepe  cut  songs  on  wood,  and  caused  them 
to  be  laid  under  a  corpse's  tongue,  which  compelled  it  to 
rise  and  sing4.  Hild  by  her  song  waked  Hogni  and  He- 
din's  fallen  warriors,  that  they  might  continually  renew 
the  combat5.  As  examples  of  such  songs  may  be  men 
tioned  that  by  which  Hervor  woke  Angantyr,  and  the  so- 
called  Busla's  prayer  and  Serpa's  verse6. 

Seid,  according  to  some,  consisted  in  a  kind  of  boiling 
(from  at  sioiSa,  to  boil] ;  although  in  the  original  authori 
ties  there  is  nothing  that  evidently  alludes  to  that  pro 
cess7.  The  ^Esir  learned  it  from  Freyia8;  it  was  regarded 
as  unseemly  for  men,  and  was  usually  practised  by  women 
only:  we  nevertheless  meet  with  seid-men.  Both  seid 
and  galder  were  practised  by  Odin  himself.  The  seid- 
woman  occupied  an  elevated  seat  with  four  pillars.  All 
changes  in  nature,  such  as  quenching  fire,  stilling  the  sea, 
turning  the  wind,  waking  the  dead,  seem  to  have  been 
mostly  effected  by  galder ;  while  by  means  of  seid  the  fate 

1  Mythol.  p.  71.  2  Oddr.  Gratr,  Str.  6. 

3  Ynglingas.  c.  7,  and  Mythol.  pp.  16,  72. 

4  Saxo,  p.  38,  edit.  Miiller.  5  Ib.  p.  242. 

6  Saga  HerrautJs  ok  Bosa,  cap.  5.  7  See  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  988. 

8  Ynglingas.  c.  4. 


of  individuals  was  ascertained  and  control  over  futurity 
acquired ;  by  seid  death,  misfortune  and  disease  could  be 
caused  to  others,  intellect  and  strength  taken  from  one 
and  given  to  another,  storms  raised,  etc.  etc.  On  account 
of  its  wickedness,  it  was  held  unworthy  of  a  man  to  prac 
tise  seid,  and  the  seid-man  was  prosecuted  and  burned  as 
an  atrocious  trollman.  The  seid- women  received  money 
to  make  men  hard,  so  that  iron  could  not  wound  them1. 

The  most  remarkable  class  of  seid-women  were  the  so- 
called  Valas,  or  Volvas.  We  find  them  present  at  the  birth 
of  children,  when  they  seem  to  represent  the  Norns.  They 
acquired  their  knowledge  either  by  means  of  seid,  during 
the  night,  while  all  others  in  the  house  were  sleeping,  and 
uttered  their  oracles  in  the  morning;  or  they  received 
sudden  inspirations  during  the  singing  of  certain  songs 
appropriated  to  the  purpose,  without  which  the  sorcery 
could  not  perfectly  succeed.  These  seid-women  are  com 
mon  over  all  the  North.  They  were  invited  by  the  master 
of  a  family,  and  appeared  in  a  peculiar  costume,  sometimes 
with  a  considerable  number  of  followers,  e.  g.  with  fifteen 
young  men  and  fifteen  girls.  For  their  soothsaying  they 
received  money,  gold  rings  and  other  precious  things. 
Sometimes  it  was  necessary  to  compel  them  to  prophesy. 
An  old  description  of  such  a  Vala,  who  went  from  guild  to 
guild  telling  fortunes,  will  give  the  best  idea  of  these 
women  and  their  proceedings  : — 

Thorbiorg  during  the  winter  attended  the  guilds,  at 
the  invitation  of  those  who  desired  to  know  their  fate  or 
the  quality  of  the  coming  year.  Everything  was  prepared 
in  the  most  sumptuous  manner  for  her  reception.  There 
was  an  elevated  seat,  on  which  lay  a  cushion  stuffed  with 
feathers.  A  man  was  sent  to  meet  her.  She  came  in  the 
evening,  dressed  in  a  blue  mantle  fastened  with  thongs, 

1  Ynglingas.  c.  4,  7,  17.    Hrdlfss.  Kraka,  c.  3,  48,  51.    Frfoftjofss.  c.  5. 
Orvaroddss.  c.  19.     Gaungu-Hrolfss.  c.  28.     Sogubrot  af  Fornkon.  c.  4. 


and  set  with  stones  down  to  the  lap ;  round  her  neck  she 
had  a  necklace  of  glass  beads,  on  her  head  a  hood  of  black 
lambskin  lined  with  white  catskin;  in  her  hand  a  staff, 
the  head  of  which  was  mounted  with  brass  and  orna 
mented  with  stones ;  round  her  body  she  wore  a  girdle  of 
dry  wood  (knoske),  from  which  hung  a  bag  containing  her 
conjuring  apparatus;  on  her  feet  were  rough  calfskin 
shoes  with  long  ties  and  tin  buttons ;  on  her  hands  cat- 
skin  gloves,  white  and  hairy  within.  All  bade  her  wel 
come  with  a  reverent  salutation ;  the  master  himself  con 
ducted  her  by  the  hand  to  her  seat.  She  undertook  no 
prophecy  on  the  first  day,  but  would  first  pass  a  night 
there.  In  the  evening  of  the  following  day  she  ascended 
her  elevated  seat,  caused  the  women  to  place  themselves 
round  her,  and  desired  them  to  sing  certain  songs,  which 
they  did  in  a  strong,  clear  voice.  She  then  prophesied  of 
the  coming  year,  and  afterwards  all  that  would  advanced 
and  asked  her  such  questions  as  they  thought  proper,  to 
which  they  received  plain  answers1. 

Besides  galder  and  seid,  there  were  no  doubt  other 
kinds  of  sorcery.  It  was  believed,  for  instance,  that  the 
Fins  in  particular  possessed  the  art  of  raising  storms  and 
of  deceiving  the  sight  of  their  enemies,  so  that  the  stones 
they  cast  in  their  way  appeared  to  them  as  lofty  moun 
tains,  and  a  snowball  as  a  great  river.  These  arts  may 
therefore  be  regarded  as  more  ancient  than  the  ^Esir-lore. 
The  Danish  sea-commander,  Odde,  could  without  a  ship 
traverse  the  ocean,  by  magic  spells  raise  a  storm  against 
his  enemies,  and  so  deceive  their  eyesight,  that  the  swords 
of  the  Danes  appeared  to  them  as  emitting  rays  and  glit 
tering  as  if  on  fire.  Gudrun  so  beguiled  the  vision  of 
Jarmerik's  warriors  that  they  turned  their  weapons  against 
each  other.  Others,  like  Gunholm  and  Hildiger,  could 
by  magic  songs  blunt  the  edge  of  swords.  The  trollman 

1  Ut  supra;  Nornagestss.  11 ;  Orvaroftss.  2 ;  Saga  Thorfinns  Karlsefnis. 


and  the  witch  could,  like  Harthgrebe,  assume  various 
forms,  make  themselves  little  or  big,  ugly  or  handsome ; 
also  invest  themselves  with  the  likeness  of  a  whale  or 
other  animal,  as  the  trollman  sent  by  Harald  Blatand 
to  Iceland,  and  the  troll-wife  who,  in  order  to  kill  King 
Frodi,  transformed  herself  to  a  sea-cow,  and  her  sons  to 
calves.  With  viands  prepared  from  snakes  or  serpents  a 
person  procured  strength,  wisdom  and  success  in  war  for 
any  favourite  individual.  By  oblivious  potions  and  phil 
ters  lovers  were  made  to  forget  their  old  love  and  contract 
a  new  one.  That  which  Grimhild  gave  to  Gudrun  con 
sisted  of  a  strong  drink,  ice-cold  water  and  blood:  and 
with  this  drink  were  mingled  many  potent  (evil)  things, 
as  the  juice  of  all  kinds  of  trees,  acorns,  soot,  entrails  of 
victims,  and  boiled  swine's  liver,  which  has  the  virtue  of 
extinguishing  hatred.  In  the  horn  containing  it  runes 
were  sculptured1. 

Trollmen,  it  was  believed,  could  derive  much  aid  from 
certain  animals  :  thus  the  art  of  interpreting  the  voice  of 
birds  is  spoken  of  as  a  source  of  great  discoveries.  The 
crow  was  in  this  respect  a  bird  of  considerable  importance, 
and  that  such  was  also  the  case  with  the  raven  is  evident 
from  Odin's  Hugin  and  Munin.  The  cat  is  also  men 
tioned  as  a  special  favourite  among  trollmen.  The  skilful 
Icelandic  magician,  Thorolf  Skegge,  is  said  to  have  had 
no  less  than  twenty  large  black  cats,  that  valiantly  de 
fended  their  master  when  attacked,  and  gave  eighteen 
men  enough  to  do  2. 

Of  the  'hamhlaup/  or  power  of  assuming  various 
forms,  we  have  an  example  in  Odin  himself,  who  could 
change  his  appearance  (hamr),  and  as  a  bird,  a  fish  or 

1  Saxo,  p.  249, 192, 414, 179,  37,  256 ;  Snorri,  Saga  Olafs  Tryggv.  c.  37. 
Goftrunar  Harmr,  21-23. 

2  Ragn.  LoSbr.  Saga.  8  ;  Vols.  S.  19 ;  Snorri,  Olaf  Kyr.  Saga,  9  ;  Vatnsd. 
Saga,  28. 


other  animal  transport  himself  to  distant  lands  l ;  also  in 
the  falcon-plumage  (valshamr,  fiaj?rhamr)  of  the  goddesses, 
which  they  could  lend  to  others,  and  in  the  swan-plumage 
of  the  Valkyriur2.     It  was  likewise  believed  that  men 
could  by  magic  be  changed  to  the  form  of  wolves,  which 
they  could  lay  aside  only  at  certain  times.     Of  some  it 
was  believed  that  by  putting  on  a  magical  hat  or  hood 
(dularkufl,  hulrSshjalmr),  they  could  render   themselves 
invisible  to,  or  not  to  be  recognised  by,  others  3 ;  or  by 
certain   arts  alter  the  whole  aspect  of  the  surrounding 
country.     Of  all  this  many  instances  occur  in  the  Sagas. 
The  witch  Liot  would  change  the  aspect  of  the  country  in 
the  sight  of  others,  by  placing  one  foot   over  her  head, 
walking  backwards,  and  protruding  her  head  between  her 
legs ;  but  the  process  failed,  as  they  saw  her  before  she 
saw  them.     Svan,  when   desirous  of  concealing  another, 
wrapped  a  goatskin  round  his  head,  and  said  :    "  There 
will  be  fog,  and  bugbears,  and  great  wonders  for  all  who 
seek  after  thee  4."  A  man  became  '  freskr/  i.  e.  capable  of 
seeing  the  concealed  trollman  by  looking  under  another's 
arm  placed  a-kimbo  on  the  left  side  5.    Even  to  the  glance 
or  look  of  the  eye  an  extraordinary  effect  was  ascribed, 
sometimes  harmless,  as  Svanhild's  when  the  horses  were 
about  to  trample  on  her,   or  as   Sigurd's,  whose   sharp 
glance  held  the  most  savage  dogs   at  bay6;  sometimes 
pernicious.     The  effect  of  either  might  be  neutralized  by 
drawing  a  bag  over  the  head,  by  which  process  the  troll 
man  lost  his  power.    It  is  told  of  one,  that  he  saw  through 

1  Ynglingas.  c.  7.  2  Mythol.  pp.  54,  85. 

3  This  was  effected  by  a  kind  of  powder  resembling  ashes,  which  the 
operator  sprinkled  over  and  around  the  person  it  was  intended  to  con 
ceal.     Snorri,  Har.  Harf.  Saga,  31  ;  Olaf  Helg.  Saga,  143. 

4  Vatnsda3las,  c.  26;  Njala,  c.  27,  etc. 

5  Orvarodds,  c.  29.     Mythol.  p.  166. 

6  Vblsungas.  c.  29  ;  Olafss.  Tryggvas.  c.  208.    Mythol.  p.  18. 



a  hole  in  the  bag,  and  with  a  glance  destroyed  a  whole 
field  of  grass  l.  Hence  the  common  saying  of  one  having 
an  evil  eye.  Troll-wives  and  noxious  demons  (uvsettir)  are 
described,  as  Hyrrockin,  riding  on  wolves  with  snakes  or 
serpents  for  a  rein  2.  Such  ridings  generally  took  place 
by  night,  and  the  heroes  pursued  and  slew  these  beings  of 
the  dark3.  In  an  old  narrative  of  such  a  ride  the  circum 
stance  appears  that  the  troll  rode  on  a  staff4;  but  of  as 
semblies  of  witches  on  mountains,  as  on  the  Blakulla  in 
Sweden,  Troms  in  Norway,  Hekla  in  Iceland,  the  Blocks- 
berg  in  the  north  of  Germany,  of  which  we  read  so  much  in 
the  legends  of  the  middle  age,  we  find  absolutely  nothing  : 
this  superstition  must  have  arisen  at  or  after  the  introduc- 
tion  of  Christianity. 

A  peculiar  kind  of  magic  was  that  called  '  sitting  out * 
(utiseta,  at  sitja  uti),  which  consisted  in  sitting  out  at 
night,  and  by  certain  magical  proceedings,  which  are  no 
longer  known,  though  oftenest  with  'galder/  summoning 
forth  trolls,  or  raising  the  dead,  for  the  purpose  of  interro 
gating  them  5. 

In  the  more  fabulous  Sagas  mention  occurs  of  a  variety 
of  superstitions,  such  as  of  a  wooden  image  endowed  with 
life,  by  means  of  <  galder/  and  sent  to  Iceland,  by  which 
Thorleif  Jarlaskiald  was  slain;  the  raising  of  charmed 
weather,  by  shaking  a  weather-bag  (veSrbelgr),  from  which 
storms  proceeded;  the  belief  that  certain  men  every  ninth 
night  became  women  ;  that  a  man,  by  a  kind  of  grass  placed 
under  a  woman's  head,  might  excite  her  love;  that  persons 
could  by  magic  be  fixed  to  the  spot  where  they  stood, 
without  the  power  of  stirring  from  it ;  that  there  are 
mantles,  woven  by  elves,  whereby  women's  fidelity  and 
maidens'  chastity  may  be  tested,  etc.  etc.  Some  of  these 

i  Laxdffilas.  c.  37,  38.  2  Mythol.  p.  75. 

a  Helgakv.  Hadingask.  Str.  146.  4  Saga  Thorsteins  Baearra.  c.  2. 

*  Ynglingas.  7  ,  Hak.  Herfiabr.S.  18. 


superstitions  may  have  prevailed  in  the  North,  though 
many  of  them  are  no  doubt  mere  later  fictions. 

Garments  also  could  be  charmed,  either  for  the  protection 
of  the  wearer,  or  to  cause  injury  or  death.     Of  the  chief 
tain  Thorir  Hund  it  is  said,  that  he  caused  several  frocks 
of  reindeer  skin  to  be  made  by  the  Fins,  that  were  so 
charmed  that  no  weapon  could  cut  or  pierce  them ;  and 
in  the  battle  of  Stiklastad  one  of  these  frocks  protected 
him  against  the  sword  of  St.  Olaf,  when  that  king  struck 
him  across  the  shoulders.     Harald  Hakonson,  jarl  of  the 
Orkneys,  died,  we  are  told,  in  consequence  of  a  charmed 
garment,  that  had  been  wrought  by  his  own  mother  and 
her   sister,   but   intended  for  his  half-brother,  Pal  Jarl. 
Swords  were  sometimes  so  enchanted,  that  success  in  battle 
attended  those  that  bore  them,  and  the  wounds  made  by 
them  could  be  healed  only  by  being  spread  over  with 
'life-stone'   (lifsteinn).      That  such  swords  might  have 
their  full  effect,  much  was  to  be  attended  to  :  the  famous 
sword  Skofnung,  for  instance,  that  was  taken  from  Hrolf 
Kraki's  sepulchral  mound,  might  not  be  drawn  in  the 
presence  of  women,  or  so  that  the  sun  shone  on  the  hilt, 
otherwise  it  lost  somewhat  of  its  virtue1. 

The  most  efficient  and  solemn  mode  of  wishing  evil  to 
"another  was  that  called  (m%'  (enmity),  which  consisted 
in  setting  up  a  nith-stake  (at  reisa  nrS).  The  process  is 
thus  described  by  Saxo,  who  relates  how  such  a  nr5-stake 
was  raised  against  Eric  the  Eloquent : — The  head  of  a  horse, 
that  had  been  sacrificed  to  the  gods,  was  set  on  a  stake,  the 
jaws  being  held  distended  by  wooden  pins.  And  this  is 
confirmed  by  the  Sagas.  When  Egil  Skallagrimsson  would 
'ni$a'  King  Eric  Blodoxe  and  Queen  Gunnhild  in  Nor 
way,  he  took  a  hazel-stake,  ascended  a  mountain-peak  that 

1  Snorri,  01.  Hel.  Saga,  204,  240 ;  Orkney.  S.  p.  144.    Laxd.  S.  57,  58  ; 
Korm.  S.  9.     Keyser,  p.  141. 



looked  towards  the  interior  of  the  country,  and  set  a  horse's 
head  on  the  stake,  while  he  uttered  the  following  maledic 
tion  :  "  Here  raise  I  a  nith-stake,  and  turn  this  '  nith ' 
against  King  Eric  and  Queen  Gunnhild— at  the  same  time 
turning  the  head  towards  the  country.     And  I  turn  this 
'  nith '  against  the  '  land-vsettir '  that  abide  in  this  land, 
so  that  they  may  wander  about,  without  finding  house  or 
habitation,  until  they  shall  have  driven  King  Eric  and 
Queen  Gunnhild  from  the  country  V  He  then  drove  the 
stake  fast  down  in  a  cleft  of  the  mountain,  and  cut  runes 
on  it  containing  the  same  malediction  l.  In  perfect  accord 
ance  with  this  is  the  law  of  Ulfliot2,  that  no  one  might 
sail  towards  the  land  with  a  yawning  head  at  the  stem,  in 
order  not  to  terrify  the  land-vsettir,  or  guardian  deities. 
In  other  narratives  we  find  that  a  human  head  of  wood 
was  set  in  the  breast  of  the  slaughtered  horse.     Another 
species  of  nith  was  performed  with  runes,  which  in  some 
way  or  other  must  be  conveyed  to  the  enemy  or  his  pro 
perty  :  for  this  purpose  the  operator  cut  runes  on  wood, 
smeared  them  with  his  blood,  uttered  '  galder '  over  them, 
and  walked  round  them  against  the  sun,  then  cast  them 
into  the  sea,  with  the  wish  that  they  might  be  drifted  to 
the  object  against  whom  the  nith  was  directed3. 

But  as  misfortune  and  lasting  calamity  could  be  caused 
to  others  by  imprecations,  so  could  one  individual,  by  good 
wishes,  impart  to  others  good  fortune  and  happiness  ;  and 
the  belief  was  general,  that  the  father's  luck  could  con 
tinue  to  operate  on  the  life  of  the  son,  and  of  generous,  kind 
relatives  on  that  of  succeeding  generations,  and  that,  the 

1  Gunnhild  had  at  a  banquet  caused  a  poisoned  drink  to  be  presented 
to  Egil,  who  having  cause  for  suspicion,  scratched  runes  on  the  horn  with 
his  knife,  wounded  himself  in  the  palm,  and  smeared  the  runes  with  blood, 
when  the  horn  burst  asunder  and  the  liquor  was  spilt.     Hence  his  enmity. 

2  The  first  lawgiver  of  Iceland.     He  lived  in  the  10th  century. 
'  Saxo,  p.  203  ;  Egilss.  c.  60 ;  Vatnsdrclas.  c.  31,  36,  etc. 


king  or  a  chieftain  could  communicate  his  good  fortune  to 
others.  Thus  it  is  related  of  Odin,  that  to  render  his  men 
successful  in  battle,  he  laid  his  hands  on  them  and  blessed 
them ;  of  Olaf  Tryggvason,  that  to  Halfred  and  others  he 
gave  his  good  luck ;  of  Hoskuld  Dalakolssen  in  Iceland, 
that  just  before  his  death  he  gave  his  son  a  ring  together 
with  his  own  and  his  kindred's  good  fortune  ;  and  Svend 
Tveskiseg,  who  formed  a  commercial  connection  with  Van- 
helds-Roe,  communicated  to  him  a  share  of  his  prosperity. 


To  the  Germans  no  Edda  has  been  transmitted,  nor  has 
any  writer  of  former  times  sought  to  collect  the  remains 
of  German  heathenism.  On  the  contrary,  the  early  writers 
of  Germany  having,  in  the  Roman  school,  been  alienated 
from  all  reminiscences  of  their  paternal  country,  have 
striven,  not  to  preserve,  but  to  extirpate  every  trace  of 
their  ancient  faith2.  Much,  therefore,  of  the  old  German 
mythology  being  thus  irretrievably  lost,  I  turn  to  the 
sources  which  remain,  and  which  consist  partly  in  written 
documents,  partly  in  the  never- stationary  stream  of  living 
traditions  and  customs.  The  first,  although  they  may 
reach  far  back,  yet  appear  fragmentary  and  lacerated, 
while  the  existing  popular  tradition  hangs  on  threads 
which  finally  connect  it  with  Antiquity3. 

The  principal  sources  of  German  mythology  are,  there 
fore,  I.  Popular  narratives ;  II.  Superstitions  and  ancient 
customs,  in  which  traces  of  heathen  myths,  religious  ideas 
and  forms  of  worship  are  to  be  found. 

1  It  is  to  be  observed  that  the  word  German  is  here  used  in  its  modern 
signification,  to  the  exclusion  of  the  Scandinavian  nations ;  when  meaning 
to  include  the  whole  race,  I  have  generally  adopted  the  term  Germanic. 

2  Grimm,  D.  M.  Vorrede,  p.  vui.  3  Ib.  p.  x. 


Popular  narratives  branch  into  three  classes :  I.  Heroic 
Traditions  (Heldensagen) ;  II.  Popular  Traditions  (Volks- 
sagen);  III.  Popular  Tales  (Marchen).  That  they  all 
in  common — though  traceable  only  in  Christian  times — 
have  preserved  much  of  heathenism,  is  confirmed  by  the 
circumstance,  that  in  them  many  beings  make  their  appear 
ance  who  incontestably  belong  to  heathenism,  viz.  those 
subordinate  beings  the  dwarfs,  water-sprites,  etc.,  who  are 
wanting  in  no  religion  which,  like  the  German,  has  de 
veloped  conceptions  of  personal  divinities1. 

The  principal  sources  of  German  HEROIC  TRADITION 
are  a  series  of  poems,  which  have  been  transmitted  from 
the  eighth,  tenth,  but  chiefly  from  the  twelfth  down  to  the 
fifteenth  century.  These  poems  are  founded,  as  has  been 
satisfactorily  proved,  on  popular  songs,  collected,  arranged 
and  formed  into  one  whole,  for  the  most  part  by  professed 
singers.  The  heroes,  who  constitute  the  chief  personages 
in  the  narrative,  were  probably  once  gods  or  heroes,  whose 
deep-rooted  myths  have  been  transmitted  through  Chris 
tian  times  in  an  altered  and  obscured  form.  With  the 
great  German  heroic  tradition — the  story  of  Siegfried  and 
the  Nibelunge,  this  assumption  is  the  more  surely  founded, 
as  the  story,  even  in  heathen  times,  was  spread  abroad  in 
Northern  song2. 

If  in  the  Heroic  Traditions  the  mythic  matter,  particu 
larly  that  which  forms  the  pith  of  the  narrative,  is  fre 
quently  concealed,  in  the  POPULAR  TRADITIONS  (Volks- 
sagen)  it  is  often  more  obvious.  By  the  last-mentioned 
title  we  designate  those  narratives  which,  in  great  number 
and  remarkable  mutual  accordance,  are  spread  over  all  Ger 
many,  and  which  tell  of  rocks,  mountains,  lakes  and  other 
prominent  objects.  The  collecting  of  those  still  preserved 
among  the  common  people  has,  since  the  publication  of 
the  ( Deutsche  Sagen '  by  the  Brothers  Grimm,  made  con- 
1  W.  Muller,  Altdeutsche  Religion,  p.  12.  2  Ib. 


siderable  progress.  Of  such  narratives  many,  it  is  true, 
belong  not  to  our  province,  some  being  mere  obscured 
historic  reminiscences,  others  owing  their  origin  to  ety 
mologic  interpretations,  or  even  to  sculpture  and  carvings, 
which  the  people  have  endeavoured  to  explain  in  their  own 
fashion;  while  others  have  demonstrably  sprung  up  in 
Christian  times,  or  are  the  fruits  of  literature.  Neverthe 
less,  a  considerable  number  remain,  which  descend  from 
ancient  times,  and  German  mythology  has  still  to  hope 
for  much  emolument  from  the  Popular  Traditions,  since 
those  with  which  we  are  already  acquainted  offer  a  plenti 
ful  harvest  of  mythic  matter,  without  which  our  know 
ledge  of  German  heathenism  would  be  considerably  more 
defective  than  it  is1. 

The  POPULAR  TALE  (Volksmarchen),  which  usually 
knows  neither  names  of  persons  or  places,  nor  times,  con 
tains,  as  far  as  our  object  is  concerned,  chiefly  myths  that 
have  been  rent  from  their  original  connection  and  ex 
hibited  in  an  altered  fanciful  form.  Through  lively  ima 
gination,  through  the  mingling  together  of  originally 
unconnected  narratives,  through  adaptation  to  the  various 
times  in  which  they  have  been  reproduced  and  to  the 
several  tastes  of  listening  youth,  through  transmission 
from  one  people  to  another,  the  mythic  elements  of  the 
Popular  Tales  are  so  disguised  and  distorted,  that  their 
chief  substance  is,  as  far  as  mythology  is  concerned,  to  us 
almost  unintelligible2. 

But  Popular  Traditions  and  Popular  Tales  are,  after  all, 
for  the  most  part,  but  dependent  sources,  which  can  de 
rive  any  considerable  value  only  by  connection  with  more 
trustworthy  narratives.  A  yet  more  dependent  source  is 
the  SUPERSTITIONS  still  to  be  found  in  the  country  among 
the  great  mass  of  the  people,  a  considerable  portion  of 
which  has,  in  my  opinion,  no  connection  with  German 
1  Miiller,  p.  14.  2  j^  p<  15 

L  5 


mythology;  although  in  recent  times  there  is  manifestly 
a  disposition  to  regard  every  collection  of  popular  super 
stitions,  notions  and  usages  as  a  contribution  to  it1. 

Among  the  superstitions  are  to  be  reckoned  the  charms 
or  spells  and  forms  of  adjuration,  which  are  to  be  uttered 
frequently,  with  particular  ceremonies  and  usages,  for  the 
healing  of  a  disease  or  the  averting  of  a  danger,  and  which 
are  partly  still  preserved  among  the  common  people,  and 
partly  to  be  found  in  manuscripts2.  They  are  for  the  most 
part  in  rime  and  rhythmical,  and  usually  conclude  with 
an  invocation  of  God,  Christ  and  the  saints.  Their  begin 
ning  is  frequently  epic,  the  middle  contains  the  potent 
words  for  the  object  of  the  spell.  That  many  of  these 
forms  descend  from  heathen  times  is  evident  from  the 
circumstance  that  downright  heathen  beings  are  invoked 

in  them3. 

Another  source  is  open  to  us  in  GERMAN  MANNERS 
AND  CUSTOMS.  As  every  people  is  wont  to  adhere  tena 
ciously  to  its  old  customs,  even  when  their  object  is  no 
longer  known,  so  has  many  a  custom  been  preserved,  or 
only  recently  fallen  into  desuetude,  the  origin  of  which 
dates  from  the  time  of  heathenism,  although  its  connec 
tion  therewith  may  either  be  forgotten  or  so  mixed  up 
with  Christian  ideas  as  to  be  hardly  recognisable.  This 
observation  is  particularly  applicable  to  the  popular  diver 
sions  and  processions,  which  take  place  at  certain  seasons 
in  various  parts  of  the  country.  These,  though  frequently 
falling  on  Christian  festivals,  yet  stand  in  no  necessary 
connection  with  them ;  for  which  reason  many  may,  no 

1  Muller,  p.  16. 

2  Many  such  conjurations   and  spells  are  given  by   Grimm,  D.  M. 
pp.  CXXVI-CLIX.  1st  edit.,  and  in  Mone's  Anzeiger,  also  in  Altdeutsche 
Blatter,  Bd.  ii.  etc. 

3  As  Erce  and  Fasolt.     See  D.  M.  pp.  cxxx-cxxxn.  1st  edit.    Muller, 

p.  21. 


doubt,  be  regarded  as  remnants  of  pagan  usages  and 
festivals.  And  that  such  is  actually  the  case  appears  evi 
dent  from  the  circumstance,,  that  some  of  these  festivals,, 
e.  g.  the  kindling  of  fires,  were  at  the  time  of  the  conver 
sion  forbidden  as  heathenish,  and  are  also  to  be  found  in 
the  heathenism  of  other  nations.  But  we  know  not  with 
what  divinities  these  customs  were  connected,,  nor  in  whose 
honour  these  festivals  were  instituted.  Of  some  only  may 
the  original  object  and  probable  signification  be  divined; 
but  for  the  most  part  they  can  be  considered  only  in  their 
detached  and  incoherent  state.  It  may  also  be  added, 
that  Slavish  and  Keltic  customs  may  have  got  mingled 
with  the  German1. 

1  Miiller,  p.  22.  Upon  this  subject  Grimm  (D.  M.  Vorrede,  p.  xxxn.) 
remarks : 

"  Jewish  and  Christian  doctrine  began  to  insinuate  itself  into  the  heathen 
belief,  heathen  fancies  and  superstitions  to  press  into,  and,  as  it  were,  rake 
refuge  in  every  place  not  occupied  by  the  new  faith.  Christian  matter 
sometimes  appears  disguised  in  a  heathen  form,  and  heathen  matter  in  a 
Christian."  See  a  striking  instance  of  this  in  the  old  Thuringian  pagan 
spell  at  p.  23. 

"  As  the  goddess  Ostara  (Eastre)  became  changed  into  an  idea  of  time, 
so  was  Hellia  (Hel)  into  an  idea  of  place.  The  belief  of  Antiquity  in  elves 
and  giants  became  changed  into  that  of  angels  and  devils,  but  the  old 
traditions  remained.  Woden,  Thor,  Ty,  were  invested  with  the  nature  of 
pernicious,  diabolical  beings,  and  the  tradition  of  their  solemn  yearly  pro 
cessions  was  changed  into  that  of  a  wild,  frantic  troop,  from  which  the 
people  shrank  with  dread,  as  they  had  formerly  rushed  forth  to  share  in  it." 

"A  circumstance  yet  more  striking  is,  that  to  the  Virgin  Mary  are 
transferred  a  number  of  pleasing  traditions  of  Hold  and  Frouwa,  the  Norns 
and  Valkyriur.  How  delightful  are  these  stories  of  Mary,  and  what  could 
any  other  poesy  have  to  compare  with  them  !  With  the  kindly  heathen 
characteristics  are  associated  for  us  a  feeling  of  the  higher  sanctity  which 
surrounds  this  woman.  Flowers  and  plants  are  named  after  Mary,  images 
of  Mary  are  borne  in  procession  and  placed  in  the  forest-trees,  in  exact 
conformity  with  the  heathen  worship;  Mary  is  the  divine  mother,  the 
spinner,  and  appears  as  a  helpful  virgin  to  all  who  invoke  her.  But  Mary 
stands  not  alone.  In  the  Greek  and  the  Latin  churches  a  numerous  host 
of  saints  sprang  up  around  her,  occupying  the  place  of  the  gods  of  the 
second  and  third  classes,  the  heroes  and  wise  women  of  heathenism, 


While  the  Scandinavian  religion  may,  even  as  it  has 
been  transmitted  to  us,  be  regarded  as  a  connected  whole, 
the  isolated  fragments  of  German  mythology  can  be  con 
sidered  only  as  the  damaged  ruins  of  a  structure,  for  the 
restoration  of  which  the  plan  is  wholly  wanting.  But  this 
plan  we  in  great  measure  possess  in  the  Northern  My 
thology,  seeing  that  many  of  these  German  ruins  are  in 
perfect  accordance  with  it.  Hence  we  may  confidently 
conclude  that  the  German  religion,  had  it  been  handed 
down  to  us  in  equal  integrity  with  the  Northern,  would, 
on  the  whole,  have  exhibited  the  same  system,  and  may, 
therefore,  have  recourse  to  the  latter,  as  the  only  means 
left  us  of  assigning  a  place  to  each  of  its  isolated  frag 

Although  the  similitude  of  language  and  manners  speaks 
forcibly  in  favour  of  a  close  resemblance  between  the  Ger 
man  and  Northern  mythologies,  yet  the  assumption  of  a 
perfect  identity  of  both  religions  is,  on  that  account,  by 
no  means  admissible ;  seeing  that  the  only  original  autho 
rities  for  German  heathenism,  the  Merseburg  poems2,  in 
the  little  information  supplied  by  them,  show  some  re 
markable  deviations  from  the  religious  system  of  the 

The  question  here  naturally  presents  itself,  by  what 
course  of  events  did  the  Odinic  worship  become  spread 

and  filling  the  heart,  because  they  mediate  between  it  and  a  higher,  severer 
Godhead.  Among  the  saints  also,  both  male  and  female,  there  were  many 
classes,  and  the  several  cases  in  which  they  are  helpful  are  distributed 

among  them  like  offices  and  occupations For  the  hero  who  slew  the 

dragon,  Michael  or  George  was  substituted,  and  the  heathen  Siegberg  was 
transferred  over  to  Michael ;  as  in  France  out  of  Mons  Martis  a  Mons 
martyrum  (Montmartre)  was  formed.  It  is  worthy  of  remark  that  the 
Osseten  out  of  dies  Martis  (Mardi)  make  a  George's  day,  and  out  of  dies 
Veneris  (Vendredi)  a  Mary's  day.  Instead  of  Odin  and  Freyia,  at  minne- 
drinking,  St.  John  and  St.  Gertrud  were  substituted." 

*  Miiller,  p.  34.  2  See  page  23.  3  Mtiller,  p.  35. 


over  the  larger  portion  of  Germany  and  the  Netherlands  ? 
By  Paulus  Diaconus  (De  Gestis  Langobard.  i.  8)  we  are 
informed  that  WODAN  was  worshiped  as  a  god  by  all  the 
Germanic  nations.  And  Jonas  of  Bobbio  (Vita  S.  Colum- 
bani,  in  Act.  Bened.  sec.  2.  p.  26)  makes  mention  of  a 
vessel  filled  with  beer,  as  an  offering  to  Wodan,  among 
the  Suevi  (Alamanni)  on  the  Lake  of  Constance1.  Hence 
it  is  reasonable  to  conclude  that  his  worship  prevailed 
especially  among  those  tribes  which,  according  to  their 
own  traditions  and  other  historic  notices,  wandered  from 
north  to  south2.  Whether  Wodan  was  regarded  as  a  chief 
divinity  by  all  the  German  tribes  is  uncertain,  no  traces 
of  his  worship  existing  among  the  Bavarians;  and  the 
name  of  the  fourth  day  of  the  week  after  him  being  found 
chiefly  in  the  north  of  Germany,  but  in  no  High  German 

The  following  is  Snorri's  account  of  Odin's  course  from 
the  Tanais  to  his  final  settlement  in  Sweden  : 

"  The  country  to  the  east  of  the  Tanais  (Tanaqvisl)  in 
Asia  was  called  Asaheim  ;  but  the  chief  city  (borg)  in  the 
country  was  called  Asgard.  In  this  city  there  was  a  chief 
named  Odin  (Wodan),  and  there  was  a  great  place  of 
sacrifice  (offersted),  etc.4 

1  Sunt  etenim inibi  vicinse  nationes  Suevorum,  quo  cum  moraretur  et  inter 
habitatores  illius  loci  progrederetur,  reperit  eos  sacrificium  profanum  litare 
velle,  vasque  magnum,  quod  vulgo  cupam  vocant,  quod  viginti  et  sex 
modios  amplius  minusve  capiebat,  cerevisia  plenum,  in  medio  habebant 
positum.     Ad  quod  vir  Dei  accessit  et  sciscitatur  quid  de  illo  fieri  vellent  ? 
Illi  aiunt :   deo  suo  Wodano,  quern  Mercurium  vocant  alii,  se  velle  litare. 

2  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  49.     Miiller,  pp.  80,  85. 

3  Miiller,  p.  86.     In  the   Westphalian   dialect  Wednesday   is   called 
Godenstag,  Gaunstag,  Gunstag ;  in  Nether  Rhenish,  Gudenstag ;  in  Middle- 
age  Netherlandish  or  Dutch,  Woensdach-,  in  New  Netherl.,  Woensdag;  in 
Flemish,  Goensdag;  in  Old  Frisic,  Wernsdei;  in  New  Fris.,  Wdnsdey;  in 
Nor.  Fris.,   Winsdei\   in  Anglo-Sax.,   Wodenes-  and   Wodnesdag ;  in  Old 
Nor.,  O^insdagr. 

4  Ynglingasaga,  c.  2. 


"  At  that  time  the  Roman  generals  were  marching  over 
the  world  and  reducing  all  nations  to  subjection;  but 
Odin  being  foreknowing  and  possessed  of  magical  skill, 
knew  that  his  posterity  should  occupy  the  northern  half 
of  the  world.  He  then  set  his  brothers  Ve  and  Vili  over 
Asgard,  but  himself,  with  all  the  diar l  and  a  vast  multi 
tude  of  people,  wandered  forth,  first  westwards  to  Garda- 
riki 2,  and  afterwards  southwards  to  Saxland  3.  He  had 
many  sons ;  and  after  having  reduced  under  his  subjection 
an  extensive  kingdom  in  Saxland,  he  placed  his  sons  to  de 
fend  the  country.  He  afterwards  proceeded  northwards 
to  the  sea,  and  took  up  his  abode  in  an  island  which  is 
called  Odins-ey  in  Fyen 4.  But  when  Odin  learned  that 
there  were  good  tracts  of  land  to  the  east  in  Gym's  king 
dom  5,  he  proceeded  thither,  and  Gylfi  concluded  a  treaty 
with  him  ....  Odin  made  his  place  of  residence  by  the 
Malar  lake,  at  the  place  now  called  Sigtuna.  There  he 
erected  a  vast  temple  6" 

The  worship  of  THUNAER  or  DONAR,  the  Northern 
Thor,  among  the  Germans  appears  certain  only  from  the 
Low  German  formula  of  renunciation 7  and  the  name  of 
the  fifth  day  of  the  week8. 

1  The  diar  were  the  twelve  chief  priests. 

2  The  Great  and  Little  Russia  of  after-times. 

3  Strictly  the  Saxons'  land ;  but  by  the  Northern  writers  the  name  is 
applied  to  the  whole  of  Germany,  from  the  Alps  in  the  south  to  the 
Rhine  in  the  west. 

4  A  singular  inaccuracy,  Odense  (Oftins  ey  or  rather  Oftins  ve)  being 
the  chief  town  of  Fyen. 

5  See  pp.  34, 132  note  and  145  of  this  volume.        6  Ynglingas.  cc.  5, 6. 

7  £c  forsacho  allum  dioboles  uuercum  and  uuordum   thunaer  ende 
uuoden  ende  saxnote  ende  allem  them  unholdum  the  hira  genotas  sint. 
/  renounce  all  the  works  and  words  of  the  devil,  Thunaer  and  Woden  and 
Saxnot  and  all  those  fiends  that  are  their  associates.     Massmann,  Ab- 
schwbrungsformeln,  No.  1. 

8  Ohg.  Donares  tac,  Toniris  tac  ;  Mhg.  Donrestac ;  Mill.  Donresdach  ; 
Nnl.  Donderdag ;    0.  Fris.  Thunresdei,  Tornsdei ;    N.  Fris.   Tongersdei ; 
Nor.  Fris.  Tursdei;  A.  Sax.  Thunres  dag;  0.  Nor.  ^orsdagr. 


The  god  Zio,  who  is  identical  with  the  Northern  Ty 
(Tyr),  is  nowhere  directly  named;  but  as  he  has  given  his 
name  to  the  third  day  of  the  week,  his  right  to  a  place  in 
the  list  is  established l.  His  name  seems  to  be  preserved 
in  some  local  appellations  in  the  south  of  Germany. 

BALDUR  appears  in  the  Merseburg  poem  under  the  name 
of  PHOL  2, 

The  Frisic  god  FOSITE  is,  according  to  all  probability, 
the  Scandinavian  Forseti3.  Of  him  it  is  related  that  a 
temple  was  erected  to  him  in  Heligoland,  which  formerly 
bore  the  name  of  Fositesland.  On  the  island  there  was 
a  spring,  from  which  no  one  might  draw  water  except  in 
silence.  No  one  might  touch  any  of  the  animals  sacred 
to  the  god,  that  fed  on  the  island,  nor  anything  else  found 
there.  St.  Wilibrord  baptized  three  Frisians  in  the  spring, 
and  slaughtered  three  of  the  animals,  for  himself  and  his 
companions,  but  had  nearly  paid  with  his  life  for  the  pro 
fanation  of  the  sanctuary,  a  crime  which,  according  to  the 
belief  of  the  heathen,  must  be  followed  by  madness  or 
speedy  death4.  At  a  later  period,  as  we  are  informed  by 
Adam  of  Bremen,  the  island  was  regarded  as  sacred  by 
pirates  5. 

Besides  the  above-named  five  gods,  mention  also  occurs 
of  three  goddesses,  viz.  FRIGG,  the  wife  of  Wodan,  who  is 
spoken  of  by  Paulus  Diaconus  (i.  8)  under  the  name  of 
Frea  6.  In  the  Merseburg  poem,  where  she  is  called  Frua 
or  Friia,  she  appears  as  a  sister  of  VOLLA,  the  Northern 
Fulla  7.  The  sixth  day  of  the  week  is  named  either  after 

1  Ohg.  Cies  dac,  earlier  perhaps  Ziuwes  tac,  later  Swab.  Ziestac.  (For 
other  forms  seeD.  M.  p.  113.)     The  modern  German  Dienstag  is  a  cor 
ruption  of  Diestag.     Mnl.  Disendach  ;  Nnl.  Dingsdach  ;  0.  Fris.  Tysdei  • 
N.  Fris.  Tyesdey  ;  Nor.  Fris.  Tirsdei ;  A.  Sax.  Tiwes  dag;  O.  Nor.  Tysdagr. 

2  See  p.  23.  3  See  p.  30. 

4  Alcuini  Vita  S.  Wilibrordi  cited  by  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  210. 

5  De  Situ  Danise,  p.  132.     Miiller,  p.  88. 

6  See  D.  M.  p.  276.  7  See  pp.  23,  35. 


her  or  after  the  Northern  goddess  Freyia  l,  but  who  in 
Germany  was  probably  called  Frouwa ;  and  the  goddess 
HLUDANA,  whom  Thorlacius  identifies  with  Hlodyn2. 

Of  the  god  SAXNOT  nothing  occurs  beyond  the  mention 
of  his  name  in  the  renunciation,  which  we  have  just  seen. 
In  the  genealogy  of  the  kings  of  Essex  a  Seaxneat  appears 
as  a  son  of  Woden  3. 

As  the  common  ancestor  of  the  German  nation,  Tacitus, 
on  the  authority  of  ancient  poems  4,  places  the  hero  or 
god  Tuisco,  who  sprang  from  the  earth;  whose  son 
Mannus  had  three  sons,  after  whom  are  named  the  three 
tribes,  viz.  the  Ingsevones,  nearest  to  the  ocean ;  the  Her- 
minones,  in  the  middle  parts ;  and  the  Istsevones  5. 

After  all  it  is,  perhaps,  from  the  several  prohibitions, 
contained  in  the  decrees  of  councils  or  declared  by  the  laws, 
that  we  derive  the  greater  part  of  our  knowledge  of  Ger 
man  heathenism.  Of  these  sources  one  of  the  most  im 
NI  ARUM,  at  the  end  of  a  Capitulary  of  Carloman  (A.D.  743), 
contained  in  the  Vatican  MS.  No.  577,  which  is  a  cata 
logue  of  the  heathen  practices  that  were  forbidden  at  the 
council  of  Lestines  (Liptinse),  in  the  diocese  of  Cambrai6. 

1  The  names  of  the  sixth  day  of  the  week  waver :  Ohg.  Fria  dag,  Frije 
tag ;  Mhg.  Fritac,  Vriegtag ;  Mill.  Vridach ;  0.  Fris.  Frigendei,  Fredei ; 
N.  Fris.  Fred-,  A.  Sax.  Frige  dag;  0.  Nor.  Friadagr,  Freyjudagr;  S\v. 
Dan.  Fredag. 

2  Seepage  21.     Muller,  p.  88. 

3  Lappenberg's  England  by  Thorpe,  i.  p.  288.     Muller,  p.  89. 

*  Celebrant  carminibus  antiquis,  quod  unum  apud  illos  memoriae  et  an- 
nalium  genus  est,  Tuisconem  deura  terra  editum,  etc. 

5  Germania,  c.  2. 

•  Although  the  Indiculus  has  been  frequently  printed,  we  venture  to 
give  it  a  place  here,  on  account  of  its  importance  for  German  Mythology. 

I.  De  Sacrilegio  ad  Sepulchra  Mortuorum. 
II.  De  Sacrilegio  super  Defunctos,  id  est  Dadsisas. 
III.  De  Spurcalibus  in  Februario. 


In  the  manuscript  this  catalogue  is  preceded  by  the  for 
mula  of  renunciation  already  given. 

From  the  popular  traditions  and  tales  of  Germany  a 
sufficiently  clear  idea  of  the  nature  of  the  giants  and  dwarfs 
of  Teutonic  fiction  may  be  obtained.  As  in  the  Northern 
belief  the  giants  inhabit  the  mountains,  so  does  German 
tradition  assign  them  dwellings  in  mountains  and  caverns. 
Isolated  mounts,  sand-hills  or  islands  have  been  formed  by 
the  heaps  of  earth  which  giarit-niaidens  have  let  fall  out 
of  their  aprons  when  constructing  a  dam  or  a  causeway  !. 

IV.  De  Casulis,  id  est  Fanis. 
V.  De  Sacrilegiis  per  Ecclesias. 
VI.  De  Sacris  Silvarum,  quae  Nimidas  vocant. 
VII.  De  his  quae  faciunt  super  petras. 
VIII.  De  Sacris  Mercurii  vel  Jovis  (Wodan  or  Thor). 
IX.  De  Sacrificio  quod  fit  alicui  Sanctorum. 
X.  De  Phylacteriis  et  Ligaturis. 
XI.  De  Fontibus  Sacrificiorum. 
XII.  De  Incantationibus. 

XIII.  De  Auguriis  vel  avium  vel  equorum,  vel  bovum  stercore,  vel 


XIV.  De  Divinis  vel  Sortilegis. 

XV.  De  Igne  fricato  de  ligno,  id  est  nodfyr. 
XVI.  De  Cerebro  Animalium. 

XVII.  De  Observatione  pagana  in  foco  vel  in  inchoatione  rei  alicujus. 
XVIII.  De  Incertis  Locis,  quae  colunt  pro  Sacris. 
XIX.  De  Petendo  quod  boni  vocant  Sanctae  Mariae. 
XX.  De  Feriis,  quae  faciunt  Jovi  vel  Mer curio. 
XXI.  De  Lunae  defectione,  quod  dicurit  Vinceluna. 
XXII.  De  Tempestatibus  et  Cornibus  et  Cocleis. 

XXIII.  De  Sulcis  circa  Villas. 

XXIV.  De  Pagano  Cursu,  quern  Frias  (Yrias,  Grimm)  nominant,  scissis 

pannis  vel  calceis. 

'  XXV.  De  eo  quod  sibi  sanctos  fingunt  quoslibet  mortuos. 
XXVI.  De  Simulacro  de  consparsa  farina. 
XXVII.  De  Simulacris  de  pannis  factis. 
XXVIII.  De  Simulacro  quod  per  campos  portant. 
XXIX.  De  Ligneis  Pedibus  vel  Manibus  pagano  ritu. 
XXX.  De  eo  quod  credunt,  quia  Feminas  lunam  commendent,  quod 

possint  corda  hominum  tollere  juxta  paganos. 
1  See  vol.  iii.  p.  87. 


Scattered  fragments  of  rock  are  from  structures  under 
taken  by  them  in  ancient  times ;  and  of  the  huge  masses 
of  stone  lying  about  the  country,  for  the  presence  of  which 
the  common  people  cannot  otherwise  account,  it  is  said 
that  they  were  cast  by  giants,  or  that  they  had  shaken 
them  out  of  their  shoes  like  grains  of  sand  l.  Impressions 
of  their  fingers  or  other  members  are  frequently  to  be  seen 
on  such  stones.  Other  traditions  tell  of  giants  that  have 
been  turned  into  stone,  and  certain  rocks  have  received 
the  appellation  of  giants'  clubs*.  Moors  and  sloughs  have 
been  caused  by  the  blood  that  sprang  from  a  giant's  wound, 
as  from  Ymir's  3. 

In  Germany,  too,  traces  exist  of  the  turbulent  elements 
being  considered  as  giants.  A  formula  is  preserved  in 
which  Fasolt  is  conjured  to  avert  a  storm;  in  another, 
Mermeut,  who  rules  over  the  storm,  is  invoked  4.  Fasolt 
is  the  giant  who  figures  so  often  in  German  middle-age 
poetry  5 ;  he  was  the  brother  of  Ecke,  who  was  himself  a 
divinity  of  floods  and  waves6.  Of  Mermeut  nothing 
further  is  known. 

In  the  German  popular  tales  the  devil  is  frequently 
made  to  step  into  the  place  of  the  giants.  Like  them  he 
has  his  abode  in  rocks 7,  hurls  huge  stones,  in  which  the 
impression  of  his  fingers  or  other  members  is  often  to  be 
seen  8,  causes  moors  and  swamps  to  come  forth,  or  has  his 

1  See  vol.  iii.  p.  93. 

2  A  rock  near  Bonn  is  called  Fasolt's  Keule  (club). 

3  See  page  4. 

4  Ich  peut  dir,  Fasolt,  dass  du  das  wetter  verfirst  (wegfuhrest),  mir  und 
meinen  nachpauren  an  schaden.    D.  M.  p.  cxxxii.  1st  edit.  MUller,  p.  317, 


5  See  the  passages  in  which  mention  of  him  occurs  in  W.  Grimm , 
Deutsche  Heldensage. 

6  See  Grimm,  D.  M.  pp.  218,  602.    MUller,  pp.  310,  319. 

7  Grimm,  K.  and  H.  M.  No.  125. 

s  Ib.  D.  S.  No.  191-198,  200-205  ;  Wolf,  Niederl.  Sagen,  No.  178,  etc. 


habitation  in  them  l,  and  raises  the  whirlwind2.  Accord 
ing  to  a  universal  tradition,  compacts  are  frequently  made 
with  the  devil,  by  which  he  is  bound  to  complete  a  building, 
as  a  church,  a  house,  a  barn,  a  causeway,  a  bridge  or  the 
like  within  a  certain  short  period;  but  by  some  artifice, 
through  which  the  soul  of  the  person,  for  whom  he  is 
doing  the  work,  is  saved,  the  completion  of  the  under 
taking  is  prevented.  The  cock,  for  instance,  is  made  to 
crow;  because,  like  the  giants  and  dwarfs,  who  shun  the 
light  of  the  sun,  the  devil  also  loses  his  power  at  the  break 
of  day  3.  In  being  thus  deceived  and  outwitted,  he  bears 
a  striking  resemblance  to  the  giants,  who,  though  possess 
ing  prodigious  strength,  yet  know  not  how  to  profit  by  it, 
and  therefore  in  their  conflicts  with  gods  and  heroes  always 
prove  the  inferior  4. 

While  in  the  giant-traditions  and  tales  of  Germany  a 
great  degree  of  uniformity  appears,  the  belief  in  dwarfs 
displays  considerable  vivacity  and  variety ;  though  no  other 
branch  of  German  popular  story  exhibits  such  a  mixture 
with  the  ideas  of  the  neighbouring  Kelts  and  Slaves.  This 
intermingling  of  German  and  foreign  elements  appears 
particularly  striking  on  comparing  the  German  and  Keltic 
elf-stories,  between  which  will  be  found  a  strong  similitude, 

1  Grimm,  D.  S.  No.  202;  Harrys,  i.  No.  11. 

2  Stopke,  or  Stepke,  is  in  Lower  Saxony  an  appellation  of  the  devil  and 
of  the  whirlwind,  from  which  proceed  the  fogs  that  pass  over  the  land. 
The  devil  sits  in  the  whirlwind  and  rushes  howling  and  raging  through 
the  air.  Mark.  Sagen,  p.  377.     The  whirlwind  is  also  ascribed  to  witches. 
If  a  knife  be  cast  into  it,  the  witch  will  be  wounded  and  become  visible. 
Schreibers  Taschenbuch,  1839,  p.  323.     Comp.  Grimm,  Abergl.  522,  554  ; 
Mones  Anzeiger,  8,  278.     See  also  vol.  iii.  p.  23.     The  spirits  that  raise 
storms  and  hail  may  be  appeased  by  shaking  out  a  flour-sack  and  saying  : 
"  Siehe  da,  Wind,  koch  ein  Mus  fur  dein  Kind  !"  (See  there,  Wind,  boil  a 
pap  for  thy  child !) ;  or  by  throwing  a  tablecloth  out  of  the  window. 
Grimm,  Abergl.  282.     Like  the  Wild  Huntsman,  the  devil  on  Ash  Wed 
nesday  hunts  the  wood-wives.    Ib.  469,  914.     See  vol.  iii.  p.  60,  note  2. 

3  See  p.  8,  note  3.  *  Muller,  p.  317. 


which  is  hardly  to  be  explained  by  the  assumption  of  an 
original  resemblance  independent  of  all  intercommunica 
tion  1. 

Tradition  assigns  to  the  dwarfs  of  Germany,  as  the 
Eddas  to  those  of  the  North,  the  interior  of  the  earth, 
particularly  rocky  caverns,  for  a  dwelling.  There  they  live 
together  as  a  regular  people,  dig  for  ore,  employ  them 
selves  in  smith's  work,  and  collect  treasures.  Their  activity 
is  of  a  peaceful,  quiet  character,  whence  they  are  distin 
guished  as  the  still  folk  (the  good  people,  the  guid  neigh 
bours]  ;  and  because  it  is  practised  in  secret,  they  are  said 
to  have  a  tarncap,  or  tarnmantle'2,  or  mistmantle,  by  which 
they  can  make  themselves  invisible.  For  the  same  reason 
they  are  particularly  active  at  night3. 

The  dwarfs  in  general  are,  as  we  have  seen,  the  personi 
fication  of  the  hidden  creative  powers,  on  whose  efficacy 
the  regular  changes  in  nature  depend.  This  idea  naturally 
suggests  itself  both  from  the  names  borne  by  the  dwarfs 
in  the  Eddas4,  and  from  the  myths  connected  with  them. 
These  names  denote  for  the  most  part  either  activity  in 
general,  or  individual  natural  phenomena,  as  the  phases  of 
the  moon,  wind,  etc.5 

The  activity  of  the  dwarfs,  which  popular  tradition 
symbolically  signifies  by  smith's  work,  must  be  understood 
as  elemental  or  cosmical.  It  applies  particularly  to  the 
thriving  of  the  fruits  of  the  earth.  We  consequently  fre 
quently  find  the  dwarfs  busied  in  helping  men  in  their 
agricultural  labours,  in  getting  in  the  harvest,  making 
hay  and  the  like,  wrhich  is  merely  a  debasement  of  the 
idea  that,  through  their  efficacy,  they  promote  the  growth 
and  maturity  of  the  fruits  of  the  earth.  Tradition  seems 

1  Miiller,  p.  327. 

2  From  Old  Saxon  dernian,  A.  S.  dyrnan,  to  conceal.     With  the  dwarfs 
the  sun  rises  at  midnight.     Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  435. 

3  Muller,  p.  335.  4  See  page  151.  5  MUller,  p.  332. 


to  err  in  representing  the  dwarfs  as  thievish  on  such  occa 
sions,  as  stealing  the  produce  from  the  fields,  or  collecting 
the  thrashed-out  corn  for  themselves ;  unless  such  stories 
are  meant  to  signify  that  evil  befalls  men,  if  they  offend 
those  beneficent  beings,  and  thereby  cause  them  to  sus 
pend  their  efficacy,  or  exert  it  to  their  prejudice1. 

The  same  elemental  powers  which  operate  on  the  fruits 
of  the  earth  also  exercise  an  influence  on  the  well-being  of 
living  creatures.  Well-known  and  wide-spread  is  the  tra 
dition  that  the  dwarfs  have  the  power,  by  their  touch, 
their  breathing,  and  even  by  their  look,  to  cause  sickness 
or  death  to  man  and  beast.  That  which  they  cause  when 
they  are  offended  they  must  also  be  able  to  remedy. 
Apollo,  who  sends  the  pestilence,  is  at  the  same  time  the 
healing  god.  Hence  to  the  dwarfs  likewise  is  ascribed  a 
knowledge  of  the  salutary  virtues  of  stones  and  plants. 
In  the  popular  tales  we  find  them  saving  from  sickness 
and  death ;  and  while  they  can  inflict  injury  on  the  cattle, 
they  often  also  take  them  under  their  care.  The  care  of 
deserted  and  unprotected  children  is  also  ascribed  to  them, 
and  in  heroic  tradition  they  appear  as  instructors2.  At 
the  same  time  it  cannot  be  denied  that  tradition  much 
more  frequently  tells  a  widely  different  tale,  representing 
them  as  kidnapping  the  children  of  human  mothers  and 
substituting  their  own  changelings,  '  dickkopfs '  or  '  kiel- 
kropfs3.'  These  beings  are  deformed,  never  thrive,  and, 
in  spite  of  their  voracity,  are  always  lean,  and  are,  more 
over,  mischievous.  But  that  this  tradition  is  a  misrepre 
sentation,  or  at  least  a  part  only,  of  the  original  one,  is 
evident  from  the  circumstance,  that  when  the  changeling 
is  taken  back  the  mother  finds  her  own  child  again  safe 
and  sound,  sweetly  smiling,  and  as  it  were  waking  out  of 

1  Miiller,  p.  336. 

2  Of  this  description  was  Regin,  the  instructor  of  Sigurd.    See  p.  95. 

3  See  page  46. 


a  deep  sleep.  It  had,  consequently,  found  itself  very 
comfortable  while  under  the  care  of  the  dwarfs,  as  they 
themselves  also  declare,  that  the  children  they  steal  find 
better  treatment  with  them  than  with  their  own  parents. 
By  stripping  this  belief  of  its  mythic  garb,  we  should  pro 
bably  find  the  sense  to  be,  that  the  dwarfs  take  charge  of 
the  recovery  and  health  of  sick  and  weakly  children1. 

Hence  it  may  also  be  regarded  as  a  perversion  of  the 
ancient  belief,  when  it  is  related  that  women  are  frequently 
summoned  to  render  assistance  to  dwarf- wives  in  labour ; 
although  the  existence  of  such  traditions  may  be  con 
sidered  as  a  testimony  of  the  intimate  and  friendly  rela 
tion  in  which  they  stand  to  mankind.  But  if  we  reverse 
the  story  and  assume  that  dwarf-wives  are  present  at  the 
birth  of  a  human  child,  we  gain  an  appendage  to  the 
Eddaic  faith — that  the  Norns,  who  appeared  at  the  birth 
of  children,  were  of  the  race  of  dwarfs.  In  the  traditions 
it  is,  moreover,  expressly  declared  that  the  dwarfs  take 
care  of  the  continuation  and  prosperity  of  families.  Pre 
sents  made  by  them  have  the  effect  of  causing  a  race  to 
increase,  while  the  loss  of  such  is  followed  by  the  decline 
of  the  family2;  for  this  indicates  a  lack  of  respect  towards 
these  beneficent  beings,  which  induces  them  to  withdraw 
their  protection.  The  anger  of  the  dwarfs,  in  any  way 
roused,  is  avenged  by  the  extinction  of  the  offender's 

We  have  here  made  an  attempt,  out  of  the  numerous 
traditions  of  dwarfs,  to  set  forth,  in  a  prominent  point  of 
view,  those  characteristics  which  exhibit  their  nobler  nature, 
in  the  supposition  that  Christianity  may  also  have  vilified 
these  beings  as  it  has  the  higher  divinities.  At  the  same 
time  it  is  not  improbable  that  the  nature  of  the  dwarfs, 
even  in  heathen  times,  may  have  had  in  it  something  of 

*  Miiller,  p.  337.  2  See  vol.  iii.  p.  51. 

»  Vol,  ii.  p.  239,  and  Miiller,  p.  339. 


the  mischievous  and  provoking,  which  they  often  display 
in  the  traditions1. 

Among  the  wicked  tricks  of  the  dwarfs  one  in  particular 
deserves  notice — that  they  lay  snares  for  young  females 
and  detain  them  in  their  habitations,  herein  resembling 
the  giants,  who,  according  to  the  Eddas,  strive  to  get 
possession  of  the  goddesses2.  If  services  are  to  be  ren 
dered  by  them,  a  pledge  must  be  exacted  from  them3,  or 
they  must  be  compelled  by  force ;  but  if  once  overcome, 
they  prove  faithful  servants  and  stand  by  the  heroes  in 
their  conflicts  with  the  giants,  whose  natural  enemies  they 
seem  to  be,  though  they  are  sometimes  in  alliance  with 
them  4. 

Popular  tradition  designates  the  dwarfs  as  heathens, 
inasmuch  as  it  allows  them  to  have  power  only  over  un- 
baptized  children.  It  gives  us  further  to  understand  that 
this  belief  is  of  ancient  date,  when  it  informs  us  that  the 
dwarfs  no  longer  possess  their  old  habitations.  They  have 
emigrated,  driven  away  by  the  sound  of  church  bells, 
which  to  them,  as  heathenish  beings,  was  hateful,  or  be 
cause  people  were  malicious  and  annoyed  them,  that  is, 
no  longer  entertained  the  same  respect  for  them  as  in  the 
time  of  heathenism.  But  that  this  faith  was  harmless,  and 
could  without  prejudice  exist  simultaneously  with  Christi 
anity,  appears  from  the  tradition  which  ascribes  to  the 
dwarfs  Christian  sentiments  and  the  hope  of  salvation5. 

The  Northern  conception  of  the  Noras  is  rendered  more 
complete  by  numerous  passages  in  the  Anglo-Saxon  and 
Old-Saxon  writers.  In  Anglo-Saxon  poetry  Wyrd  mani 
festly  occupies  the  place  of  Urd  (Ur$r),  the  eldest  Norn, 

1  Miiller,  p.  341.  2  See  pages  43,  55, 

3  Arndt's  Marchen,  i.  p.  152.  4  Miiller,  p.  342. 

5  Dwarfs  go  to  church.  Grimm,  D.  S.  No.  23,  32.  Kobolds  are  Chris 
tians,  sing  spiritual  songs,  and  hope  to  be  saved,  Ib,  i,  pp.  112,  113, 
Miiller,  p.  342. 


as  the  goddess  of  fate,  who  attends  human  beings  when 
at  the  point  of  death ;  and  from  the  '  Codex  Exoniensis1 ' 
we  learn  that  the  influence  of  the  Norns  in  the  guiding  of 
fate  is  metaphorically  expressed  as  the  weaving  of  a  web,, 
as  the  /juoipai  and  parcse  are  described  as  spinners.  Thus, 
too,  does  the  poet  of  the  Heliand  personify  WURTH,  whom, 
as  a  goddess  of  death,  he  in  like  manner  makes  an  attend 
ant  on  man  in  his  last  hour2. 

We  find  not  only  in  Germany  traditions  of  WISE  WOMEN, 
who,  mistresses  of  fate,  are  present  at  the  birth  of  a  child  ; 
but  of  the  Keltic  fairies  it  is  also  related  that  they  hover 
about  mortals  as  guardian  spirits, — appearing  either  three 
or  seven  or  thirteen  together — nurse  and  tend  new-born 
children,  foretell  their  destiny,  and  bestow  gifts  on  them, 
but  among  which  one  of  them  usually  mingles  something 
evil.  Hence  they  are  invited  to  stand  sponsors,  the  place 
of  honour  is  assigned  them  at  table,  which  is  prepared 
with  the  greatest  care  for  their  sake.  Like  the  Norns, 
too,  they  spin3. 

Let  us  now  endeavour  to  ascertain  whether  among  the 
Germans  there  exist  traces  of  a  belief  in  the  Valkyriur. 
In  Anglo-Saxon  the  word  wselcyrige  (wselcyrie)  appears  as 

1  Me  J>aet  Wyrd  gewsef.  That  Wyrd  wove  for  me.  Cod.Exon.p.355, 1. 

Wyrd  oft  nere^  Wyrd  oft  preserves 

unfacgne  eorl,  an  undoom'd  man, 

>onne  his  elleu  dean,  when  his  valour  avails.     Beowulf,  1139. 

Him  waes  Wyrd  To  him  was  Wyrd 

ungemete  neah.  exceedingly  near.     Ib.  4836. 

Thiu  uurd  is  at  handum.  The  Wurd  is  at  hand.    Heliand,  p.  146,  2. 

Thiu  uurth  nahida  thuo,  The  Wurth  then  drew  near, 

mari  maht  godes.  the  great  might  of  God.     Ib.  163,  16. 

In  an  Old  High  German  gloss  also  we  find  w urt,  fatum.  Graff,  i.  p.  992. 

The  English  and  Scotch  have  preserved  the  word  the  longest,  as  in  the 
weird  sisters  of  Macbeth  and  Gawen  Douglas's  Virgil ;  the  weird  elves  in 
Warner's  Albion's  England ;  the  weird  lady  of  the  woods  in  Percy's  Re- 
liques.  See  Grimm,  D.  M.  pp.  376-378  for  other  instances. 

2  Miiller,  p.  346.  3  Ib.  p.  349. 


an  equivalent  to  necis  arbiter,  Bellona,  Alecto,  Erinnys, 
Tisiphone;  the  pi.  vselcyrian  toparcce,  venefica-,  and  Anglo- 
Saxon  poets  use  personally  the  nouns  Hild  and  Gu3, 
words  answering  to  the  names  of  two  Northern  Valkyriur, 
Hildr  and  Gunnr  (comp.  hildr,  pugna;  gunnr,  proelium, 
bellum).  In  the  first  Merseburg  poem  damsels,  or  idisi, 
are  introduced,  of  whom  "some  fastened  fetters,  some 
stopt  an  army,  some  sought  after  bonds;"  and  therefore 
perform  functions  having  reference  to  war1;  consequently 
are  to  be  regarded  as  Valkyriur2. 

We  have  still  a  superstition  to  notice,  which  in  some 
respects  seems  to  offer  a  resemblance  to  the  belief  in  the 
Valkyriur,  although  in  the  main  it  contains  a  strange 
mixture  of  senseless,  insignificant  stories.  We  allude  to 
the  belief  in  witches  and  their  nightly  meetings. 

The  belief  in  magic,  in  evil  magicians  and  sorceresses, 
who  by  means  of  certain  arts  are  enabled  to  injure  their 
fellow-creatures3 — to  raise  storms,  destroy  the  seed  in  the 

1  The  following  is  the  poem  alluded  to  in  the  text,  with  Grimm's  Latin 
version : 

Eiris  sazun  idisi,  Olim  sedebant  nymphse, 

sazun  hera  duoder,  sedebant  hue  atque  illuc, 

suma  hapt  heptidun  aliae  vincula  vinciebant, 

surna  heri  lezidun,  aliaj  exercitum  morabantur, 

suma  clubodun      1  v        1V    , 

>  alias  colligebant  serta, 

umbi  cumoumdi,  J 

insprincg  haptbandun,  insultum  diis  complicibus, 

inuar  uigandun.  introiturn  heroibus. 

the  last  two  lines  of  which  are  particularly  obscure.  See  Grimm,  iiber 
zwei  entdeckte  Gedichte  aus  der  Zeit  des  Deutschen  Heidenthums.  Ber 
lin,  1842;  also  W.  Wackernagels  Altdeutsches  Lesebuch,  edit.  1842. 
Vorrede,  p.  IX.  D.  M.  p.  372. 

2  Miiller,  p.  355. 

3  We  subjoin  the  principal  denominations  of  magicians  and  soothsayers, 
as  affording  an  insight  into  their  several  modes  of  operation.     The  more 
general  names  are :  divini,  magi,  harioli,  vaticinatores,  etc.     More  special 
ippellations  are :  sortilegi  (sortiarii,  ^pj/rruoXoyoi),  diviners  by  lot ;  in- 
icmtatores,  enchanters ;  somniorum  conjectores,  interpreters  of  dreams ; 



earth,  cause  sickness  to  man  and  beast — is  of  remote  an 
tiquity.  It  is  found  in  the  East  and  among  the  Greeks 
and  Romans;  it  was  known  also  to  the  Germans  and 
Slaves  in  the  time  of  their  paganism,  without  their  having 
borrowed  it  from  the  Romans.  In  it  there  is  nothing  to 
be  sought  for  beyond  what  appears  on  the  surface,  viz. 
that  low  degree  of  religious  feeling,  at  which  belief  sup 
poses  effects  from  unknown  causes  to  proceed  from  super 
natural  agency,  as  from  persons  by  means  of  spells,  from 
herbs,  and  even  from  an  evil  glance — a  degree  which  can 
subsist  simultaneously  with  the  progressing  religion,  and, 
therefore,  after  the  introduction  of  Christianity,  could  long 
prevail,  and  in  part  prevails  down  to  the  present  day. 
Even  in  the  time  of  heathenism  it  was,  no  doubt,  a  belief 
that  these  sorceresses  on  certain  days  and  in  certain  places 
met  to  talk  over  their  arts  and  the  application  of  them,  to 
boil  magical  herbs,  and  for  other  evil  purposes.  For  as 
the  sorcerer,  in  consequence  of  his  occult  knowledge  and 
of  his  superiority  over  the  great  mass  of  human  beings, 
became,  as  it  were,  isolated  from  them,  and  often  har 
boured  hostile  feelings  towards  them,  he  was  consequently 
compelled  to  associate  with  those  who  were  possessed  of 
similar  power.  It  must,  however,  be  evident  that  the 
points  of  contact  are  too  few  to  justify  our  seeing  the 
ground  of  German  belief  in  witch-meetings  in  the  old 
heathen  sacrificial  festivals  and  assemblies.  And  why 
should  we  be  at  the  pains  of  seeking  an  historic  basis  for 
a  belief  that  rests  principally  on  an  impure,  confused 
deisidaimonia,  which  finds  the  supernatural  where  it  does 

cauculatores  and  coclearii,  diviners  by  offering-cups  (comp.  Du  Fresne  sub 
voce,  and  Indie.  Superst.  c.  22) ;  haruspices,  consulters  of  entrails  (Capitul. 
vn.  370,  Legg.  Liutprandi  vi.  30;  comp.  Indie,  c.  16,  and  the  divining 
from  human  sacrifices.  Procop.  de  B.  G.  2.  25) ;  auspices  (Ammian.  Mar 
cel.  14.  9) ;  obligatores,  tiers  of  strings  or  ligatures  (for  the  cure  of  dis 
eases)  ;  tempestarii,  or  immissores  tempestatum,  raisers  of  storms. 


not  exist?  That  mountains  are  particularly  specified  as 
the  places  of  assembly,  arises  probably  from  the  circum 
stance  that  they  had  been  the  offering-places  of  our  fore 
fathers  ;  and  it  was  natural  to  assign  the  gatherings  of  the 
witches  to  known  and  distinguished  localities  *.  Equally 
natural  was  it  that  the  witches  should  proceed  to  the  place 
of  assembly  through  the  air,  in  an  extraordinary  manner^ 
as  on  he-goats,  broomsticks  2,  oven-forks  and  other  uten 
sils  3. 

After  having  thus  briefly  noticed  the  gods,  the  giants, 

1  The  most   celebrated  witch-mountain   is   the  well-known   Bracken 
(Blocksberg'}  in  the  Harz ;  others,  of  which  mention  occurs,  are  the  ffui- 
berg  near  Halberstadt ;  in  Thuringia  the  Horselberg  near  Eisenach,  or  the 
Inselberg  near  Schmalkalde;  in  Hesse  the  Bechelsberg  or  Bechtelsberg 
near  Ottrau;  in  Westphalia  the  Koterberg  near  Corvei,  or  the   Weckings- 
stein  near  Mind  en ;  in   Swabia,  in  the  Black  Forest,  at  Kandel  in  the 
Brisgau,  or  the  Heuberg  near  Balingen ;  in  Franconia  the  Kreidenberg 
near  Wiirzburg,  and  the  Staffelstein  near  Bamberg  ;  in  Alsace  the  Bisch- 
enberg  and  Bilchelberg.     The  Swedish  trysting-place  is  the  Blakulla  (ac 
cording  to  Ihre,  a  rock  in  the  sea  between  Smaland  and  Gland,  literally  the 
Black  Mountain),  and  the  Nasajjall'm  Norrland.     The  Norwegian  witches 
also  ride  to  the  Blaakolle,  to  the  Dovrefjeld,  to  the  Lyderhorn  near  Bergen, 
to  Kiarru,  to  Vardo  and  Domen  in  Finmark,  to  Troms  (i.  e.  Trommenfjeld), 
a  mountain  in  the  isle  of  Tromso,  high  up  in  Finmark.     The  Neapolitan 
streghe  (striges)  assemble  under  a  nut-tree  near  Benevento.  Italian  witch- 
mountains  are :  the  Barco  di  Ferrara,  the  Paterno  di  Bologna,  Spinato 
della  Mirandola,  Tossale  di  Bergamo  and  La  Croce  del  Pasticcio,  of  the 
locality  of  which  I  am  ignorant.     In  France  the  Puy  de  D6me,  near  Cler- 
mont  in  Auvergne,  is  distinguished.     Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  1004.     In  Lanca 
shire  the  witches  assembled  at  Malkin  Tower  by  the  side  of  "  the  mighty 
Pendle,"  of  whom  the  same  tradition  is  current  relative  to  the  transform 
ing  of  a  man  into  a  horse  by  means  of  a  bridle,  as  we  find  in  vol.  ii.  p.  190  ; 
also  that  of  striking  off  a  hand  (see  vol.  ii.  p.  32,  and  vol.  iii.  p.  26).   See 
Roby's  Popular  Traditions  of  England,  vol.  ii.  pp.  211-253,  edit.  1841. 

2  On  their  way  to  the  Blocksberg,  Mephistopheles  says  to  Faust : — 

"Verlangst  du  nicht  nach  einem  Besenstiele  ? 
Ich  wiinschte  mir  den  allerderbsten  Bock. 

Dost  thou  not  long  for  a  broomstick  ? 
I  could  wish  for  a  good  stout  he-goat. 

3  Miiller,  p.  357. 

M  2 


the  dwarfs,  etc.,  there 'remains  for  consideration  a  series 
of  subordinate  beings,  who  are  confined  to  particular  loca 
lities,  having  their  habitation  in  the  water,  the  forests  and 
woods,  the  fields  and  in  houses,  and  who  in  many  ways 
come  in  contact  with  man  ] . 

A  general  expression  for  a  female  demon  seems  to  have 
been  minne,  the  original  signification  of  which  was,  no 
doubt,  woman.  The  word  is  used  to  designate  female 
water-sprites  and  wood-wives  2. 

Holde  is  a  general  denomination  for  spirits,  both  male 
and  female,  but  occurs  oftenest  in  composition,  as  brun- 
nenholden,  wasserholden  (spirits  of  the  springs  and  waters). 
There  are  no  bergholden  or  waldholden  (mountain-holds, 
forest-holds),  but  dwarfs  are  called  by  the  diminutive 
holdechen.  The  original  meaning  of  the  wrord  is  bonus 
genius,  whence  evil  spirits  are  designated  wttholds  3. 

The  name  of  Bilwiz  (also  written  Pilwiz,  Pilewis,  Bui- 
weeks)  is  attended  with  some  obscurity.  The  feminine 
form  Bulwechsin  also  occurs.  It  denotes  a  good,  gentle 
being,  and  may  either,  with  Grimm4,  be  rendered  by 
tequum  sciens,  aquus,  bonus',  or  with  Leo  by  the  Keltic 
bilbheith,  bilbhith  (from  bil,  good,  gentle,  and  bheith  or  bhith, 
a  being) .  Either  of  these  derivations  would  show  that 
the  name  was  originally  an  appellative ;  but  the  traditions 
connected  with  it  are  so  obscure  and  varying,  that  they 
hardly  distinguish  any  particular  kind  of  sprite.  The 
Bilwiz  shoots  like  the  elf,  and  has  shaggy  or  matted  hair5. 

In  the  latter  ages,  popular  belief,  losing  the  old  nobler 
idea  of  this  supernatural  being,  as  in  the  case  of  Holla  and 
Berchta,  retained  the  remembrance  only  of  the  hostile  side 
of  its  character.  It  appears,  consequently,  as  a  torment- 

1  Miiller,  p.  365.  2  Ib.  p.  366.  3  Ib.  p.  366. 

4  D.  M.  p.  440,  which  see  for  further  illustration  of  the  subject ;  and 
Miiller,  p.  367. 

5  Bilwitzen  (bilmitzen)  signifies  to  tangle  or  mat  the  hair.  Miiller,  p.  367. 


ing,  terrifying,  hair-  and  beard-tangling,  grain-cutting 
sprite,  chiefly  in  a  female  form,  as  a  wicked  sorceress  or 
witch.  The  tradition  belongs  more  particularly  to  the 
east  of  Germany,  Bavaria,  Franconia,  Voigtland  and  Silesia. 
In  Voigtland  the  belief  in  the  bilsen-  or  bilver-schnitters,  or 
reapers,  is  current.  These  are  wicked  men,  who  injure 
their  neighbours  in  a  most  unrighteous  way  :  they  go  at 
midnight  stark  naked,  with  a  sickle  tied  on  their  foot,  and 
repeating  magical  formula,  through  the  midst  of  a  field 
of  corn  just  ripe.  From  that  part  of  the  field  which  they 
have  cut  through  with  their  sickle  all  the  corn  will  fly  into 
their  own  barn.  Or  they  go  by  night  over  the  fields  with 
little  sickles  tied  to  their  great  toes,  and  cut  the  straws, 
believing  that  by  so  doing  they  will  gain  for  themselves 
half  the  produce  of  the  field  where  they  have  cut 1. 

The  Schrat  or  Schratz  remains  to  be  mentioned.  From 
Old  High  German  glosses,  which  translate  scratun  by 
pilosi,  and  waltschrate  by  satyrus,  it  appears  to  have  been 
a  spirit  of  the  woods. 

In  the  popular  traditions  mention  occurs  of  a  being 
named  Judel,  which  disturbs  children  and  domestic  animals. 
When  children  laugh  in  their  sleep,  open  their  eyes  and 
turn,  it  is  said  the  Judel  is  playing  with  them.  If  it  gets 
entrance  into  a  lying-in  woman's  room,  it  does  injury  to 
the  new-born  child.  To  prevent  this,  a  straw  from  the 
woman's  bed  must  be  placed  at  every  door,  then  no  Jiidel 
nor  spirit  can  enter.  If  the  Jiidel  will  not  otherwise  leave 
the  children  in  quiet,  something  must  be  given  it  to  play 
with.  Let  a  new  pipkin  be  bought,  without  any  abate 
ment  of  the  price  demanded  ;  put  into  it  some  water  from 
the  child's  bath,  and  set  it  on  the  stove.  In  a  few  days 
the  Judel  will  have  splashed  out  all  the  water.  People  also 
hang  egg-shells,  the  yolks  of  which  have  been  blown  into 

1  Miffler,  p.  367. 


the  child's  pap  and  the  mother's  pottage,  on  the  cradle 
by  linen  threads,  that  the  Jiidel  may  play  with  them  in 
stead  of  with  the  child.  If  the  cows  low  in  the  night, 
the  Jiidel  is  playing  with  them  l.  But  what  are  the  Win- 
seln  ?  We  are  informed  that  the  dead  must  be  turned  with 
the  head  towards  the  east,  else  they  will  be  terrified  by  the 
Winseln,  who  wander  hither  from  the  west  2. 

Of  the  several  kinds  of  spirits,  which  we  classify  accord 
ing  to  the  locality  and  the  elements  in  which  they  have 
their  abode,  the  principal  are  the  demons  of  the  water  or 
the  Nixen  3.  Their  form  is  represented  as  resembling  a 
human  being,  only  somewhat  smaller.  According  to  some 
traditions,  the  Nix  has  slit  ears,  and  is  also  to  be  known  by 
his  feet,  which  he  does  not  willingly  let  be  seen.  Other  tra 
ditions  give  the  Nix  a  human  body  terminating  in  a  fish's 
tail,  or  a  complete  fish's  form.  They  are  clothed  like 
human  beings,  but  the  water-wives  may  be  known  by  the 
wet  hem  of  their  apron,  or  the  wet  border  of  their  robe. 
Naked  Nixen,  or  hung  round  with  moss  and  sedge,  are 
also  mentioned  4. 

Like  the  dwarfs,  the  water-sprites  have  a  great  love  of 
dancing.  Hence  they  are  seen  dancing  on  the  waves,  or 
coming  on  land  and  joining  in  the  dance  of  human  beings. 
They  are  also  fond  of  music  and  singing.  From  the 
depths  of  a  lake  sweetly  fascinating  tones  sometimes  ascend, 
oftentimes  the  Nixen  may  be  heard  singing.  Extraor 
dinary  wisdom  is  also  ascribed  to  them,  which  enables 
them  to  foretell  the  future  5.  The  water-wives  are  said  to 

1  Grimm,  Abergl.  No.  62,  389,  454,  from  the  Chemnitzer  Rockenphi- 
losophie.  8  Ib.  No.  545. 

3  The  male  water-sprite  is  called  nz>,  the  female  niaee.     Comp.  Ohg. 
nichus,  crocodilus  ;  A.  S.  nicor,  pi.  niceras  ;  Sw.  neck ;  Dan.  riok.  Hnikarr 
and  HnikutJr  are  names  of  Odin. 

4  Muller,  p.  369. 

5  That  water-sprites  have  the  gift  of  prophecy  has  been  the  belief  of 
many  nations.    We  need  only  remind  the  reader  of  Nereus  and  Proteus. 


spin.  By  the  rising,  sinking,  or  drying  up  of  the  water 
of  certain  springs  and  ponds — caused,  no  doubt,  by  the 
Nix — the  inhabitants  of  the  neighbourhood  judge  whether 
the  seasons  will  be  fruitful  or  the  contrary.  Honours 
paid  to  the  water-spirits  in  a  time  of  drought  are  followed 
by  rain  l,  as  any  violation  of  their  sacred  domain  brings 
forth  storm  and  tempest 2.  They  also  operate  beneficially 
on  the  increase  of  cattle.  They  possess  flocks  and  herds, 

1  Gregor.  Tur.  De  Gloria  Confess,  cap.  n. :  "  Mons  erat  in  Gabalitano 
territorio  (Gevaudan)  cognomento  Helanus,  lacura  habens  magnum,  ad 
quern  certo  tempore  multitude  rusticorum,  quasi  libamina  lacui  illi  ex- 
hibens,  linteamenta  projiciebat,  ac  pannos,  qui  ad  usum  vestimenti  virilis 
praebentur :  nonnulii  lanse  vellera,  plurimi  etiam  formas  casei  ac  cerae  vel 
panis,  diversasque  species,  unusquisque  juxta  vires  suas,  quae  dinurnerare 
perlongum  puto.  Veniebant  autem  cum  plaustris  potum  cibumque  de- 
ferentes,  mactantes  animalia  et  per  triduum  epulantes.  Quarta  autem  die, 
cum  discedere  deberent,  anticipabat  eos  tempestas  cum  tonitruo  et  coru- 
scatione  valida ;  et  in  tantum  imber  ingens  cum  lapidum  violentia  descen- 
debat,  ut  vix  se  quisquam  eorum  putaret  evadere.  Sic  fiebat  per  singulos 
annos,  et  involvebatur  insipiens  populus  in  errore."  Without  doubt  it 
was  believed  that  the  storm  was  in  consequence  of  the  offerings  made  to 
the  spirit  of  the  lake. 

The  Keltic  spring  of  Barenton,  in  the  forest  of  Breziliande,  may  be 
here  mentioned.  If  water  was  poured  from  the  spring  on  its  margin,  rain 
was  the  consequence.  Wace  thus  speaks  of  it : — 

Aler  i  solent  veneor 

A  Berenton  par  grant  chalor, 

Et  o  lor  cors  1'ewe  puisier, 

Et  li  perron  de  suz  inoillier, 

For  50  soleient  pluee  aveir. — Roman  de  Rou,  ii.  p.  143. 

Even  at  the  present  day  processions  are  made  to  the  spring,  when  the 
chief  of  the  community  dips  his  foot  crosswise  into  the  water.  It  is  then 
believed  that  rain  will  fall  before  the  procession  reaches  home.  Ville- 
marque  in  Rev.  de  Paris,  t.  41,  pp.  47-58. 

2  If  stones  are  thrown  into  the  Mummelsee,  the  serenest  sky  becomes 
troubled  and  a  storm  arises.  Grimm,  D.  S.  No.  59.  The  belief  is  pro 
bably  Keltish.  Similar  traditions  are  current  of  other  lakes,  as  of  the 
Lake  of  Pilatus,  of  Camarina  in  Sicily,  etc. 


which  sometimes  come  on  land  and  mingle  with  those  of 
men  and  render  them  prolific  l. 

Tradition  also  informs  us  that  these  beings  exercise  an 
influence  over  the  lives  and  health  of  human  beings.  Hence 
the  Nixen  come  to  the  aid  of  women  in  labour  2  ;  while  the 
common  story,  as  in  the  case  of  the  dwarfs,  asserts  the 
complete  reverse.  The  presence  of  Nixen  at  weddings  brings 
prosperity  to  the  bride;  and  new-born  children  are  said 
to  come  out  of  ponds  and  springs ;  although  it  is  at  the 
same  time  related  that  the  Nixen  steal  children,  for  which 
they  substitute  changelings.  There  are  also  traditions  of 
renovating  springs  (Jungbrunnen),  which  have  the  virtue 
of  restoring  the  old  to  youth  3. 

The  water-sprites  are  said  to  be  both  covetous  and 
bloodthirsty.  This  character  is,  however,  more  applicable 
to  the  males  than  to  the  females,  who  are  of  a  gentler 
nature,  and  even  form  connections  with  human  beings, 
but  which  usually  prove  unfortunate.  Male  water-sprites 
carry  off  young  girls  and  detain  them  in  their  habitations, 
and  assail  women  with  violence. 

The  water-sprite  suffers  no  one  from  wantonness  forcibly 
to  enter  his  dwelling,  to  examine  it,  or  to  diminish  its 
extent.  Piles  driven  in  for  an  aqueduct  he  will  pull  up 
and  scatter;  those  wrho  wish  to  measure  the  depth  of  a 
lake  he  will  threaten;  he  frequently  will  not  endure 
fishermen,  and  bold  swimmers  often  pay  for  their  temerity 
with  their  lives.  If  a  service  is  rendered  to  the  water- 
sprite,  he  will  pay  for  it  no  more  than  he  owes ;  though 
he  sometimes  pays  munificently;  and  for  the  wares  that 
he  buys,  he  will  bargain  and  haggle,  or  pay  with  old  per- 

1  See  vol.  ii.  pp.  170, 171.     Muller,  p.  371.        2  MSrk.  Sagen,  No.  83. 
3  Thus  the  rugged  Else,  Wolfdietrich's  beloved,  bathed  in  such  a  spring 
and  came  forth  the  beautiful  Sigeminne.     Muller,  p.  373. 


forated  coin.  He  treats  even  his  relations  with  cruelty. 
Water-maidens,  who  have  staid  too  late  at  a  dance,  or  other 
water- sprites,  who  have  intruded  on  his  domain,  he  will 
kill  without  mercy  :  a  stream  of  blood  that  founts  up  from 
the  water  announces  the  deed1.  Many  traditions  relate 
that  the  water-sprite  draws  persons  down  with  his  net, 
and  murders  them ;  that  the  spirit  of  a  river  requires  his 
yearly  offering,  etc.2 

To  the  worship  of  water-sprites  the  before-cited  pas 
sage  from  Gregory  of  Tours  bears  ample  witness.  The 
prohibitions,  too,  of  councils  against  the  performance  of 
any  heathen  rites  at  springs,  and  particularly  against 
burning  lights  at  them,  have,  no  doubt,  reference  to  the 
water-sprites.  In  later  Christian  times  some  traces  have 
been  preserved  of  offerings  made  to  the  demons  of  the 
water.  Even  to  the  present  time  it  is  a  Hessian  custom  to 
go  on  the  second  day  of  Easter  to  a  cave  on  the  Meisner  3, 
and  draw  water  from  the  spring  that  flows  from  it,  when 
flowers  are  deposited  as  an  offering4.  Near  Louvain  are 
three  springs,  to  which  the  people  ascribe  healing  virtues5. 
In  the  North  it  was  a  usage  to  cast  the  remnants  of  food 
into  waterfalls6. 

Rural  sprites  cannot  have  been  so  prominent  in  the 
German  religion  as  water-sprites,  as  they  otherwise  would 
have  acted  a  more  conspicuous  part  in  the  traditions.  The 
Osnabriick  popular  belief  tells  of  a  Tremsemutter,  who 
goes  among  the  corn  and  is  feared  by  the  children.  In 
Brunswick  she  is  called  the  Kornweib  (Corn wife).  When 
the  children  seek  for  cornflowers,  they  do  not  venture  too 

1  See  vol.  iii.  p.  200.  2  Muller,  p.  373. 

3  A  chain  of  hills  in  Electoral  Hesse. 

4  The  Bavarian  custom  also  of  throwing  a  man  wrapped  in  leaves  or 
rushes  into  the  water  on  Whit  Monday  may  have  originated  in  a  sacrifice 
to  appease  the  water-sprite. 

5  See  vol.  iii.  p.  270.  6  Miiller,  p.  376. 

M  5 


far  in  the  field,  and  tell  one  another  about  the  Cornwife 
who  steals  little  children.  In  the  Altmark  and  Mark  of 
Brandenburg  she  is  called  the  Roggenmohme l,  and 
screaming  children  are  silenced  by  saying  :  "  Be  still,  else 
the  Roggenmohine  with  her  long,  black  teats  will  come 
and  drag  thee  away  !  "  Or,  according  to  other  relations, 
"with  her  black  iron  teats."  By  others  she  is  called 
Rockenmor,  because  like  Holda  and  Berchta  she  plays  all 
sorts  of  tricks  with  those  idle  girls  who  have  not  spun  all 
off  from  their  spinning-wheels  (Rocken)  by  Twelfth  day. 
Children  that  she  has  laid  on  her  black  bosom  easily 
die.  In  the  Mark  they  threaten  children  with  the  Erbsen- 
muhme  2,  that  they  may  not  feast  on  the  peas  in  the  field. 
In  the  Netherlands  the  Long  Woman  is  knowrn,  who  goes 
through  the  corn-fields  and  plucks  the  projecting  ears.  In 
the  heathen  times  this  rural  or  field  sprite  was,  no  doubt, 
a  friendly  being,  to  whose  influence  the  growth  and 
thriving  of  the  corn  were  ascribed  3. 

Spirits  inhabiting  the  forests  are  mentioned  in  the  older 
authorities,  and  at  the  present  day  people  know  them 
under  the  appellations  of  Waldleute  (Forest -folk),  Holz- 
leute  (Wood-folk),  Moosleute  (Moss-folk),  Wilde  Leute 
(Wild  folk)4.  The  traditions  clearly  distinguish  the  Fo- 

1  From  roggen,  rye,  and  muhme,  aunt,  cousin. 
"  From  Erbsen,  peas. 

3  Miiller,  pp.  378,  sqq.     Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  445.     Adalbert  Kuhn,  who 
in  the  collecting  of  German  popular  traditions  is  indefatigable,  makes  us 
acquainted  with  another  female  being,  who  bears  a  considerable  resem 
blance  to  Holda,  Berchta  and  others  of  that  class,  and  is  called  the  Mur- 
raue.     See  more  of  her  in  vol.  iii.  pp.  154,  sq. 

4  The  appellation  of  Schrat  (p.  245)  is  also  applicable  to  the  Forest- 
sprites.     The  Goth,  skohsl  (Sainovtov)  is  by  Grimm  (D.  M.  p.  455)  com 
pared  with  the  0.  Nor.  Skogr  (forest),  who  thence  concludes  that  it  was 
originally  a  forest-sprite.     Jornandes  speaks  of  sylvestres  homines,  quos 
faunos  ficarios  vocant.   "  Agrestes  feminas,  quas  silvaticas  vocant."  Bure- 

hard  of  Worinb,  p.  198d. 


rest-folk  from  the  Dwarfs,  by  ascribing  to  them  a  larger 
stature,  but  have  little  more  to  relate  concerning  them 
than  that  they  stand  in  a  friendly  relation  to  man,  fre 
quently  borrow  bread  and  household  utensils,  for  which 
they  make  requital l ;  but  are  now  so  disgusted  with  the 
faithless  world  that  they  have  retired  from  it.  Such  nar 
ratives  are  in  close  analogy  with  the  dwarf-traditions,  and 
it  is,  moreover,  related  of  the  females,  that  they  are  addicted 
to  the  ensnaring  and  stealing  of  children  2. 

On  the  Saale  they  tell  of  a  Buschgrossmutter  (Bush-grand 
mother)  and  her  Moosfrdulein  (Moss -damsels).  The  Busch 
grossmutter  seems  almost  a  divine  being  of  heathenism, 
holding  sway  over  the  Forest-folk ;  as  offerings  were  made 
to  her.  The  Forest-wives  readily  make  their  appearance 
when  the  people  are  baking  bread,  and  beg  to  have  a  loaf 
baked  for  them  also,  as  large  as  half  a  millstone,  which  is 
to  be  left  at  an  appointed  spot.  They  afterwards  either 
compensate  for  the  bread,  or  bring  a  loaf  of  their  own 
batch,  for  the  ploughmen,  which  they  leave  in  the  furrow 
or  lay  on  the  plough,  and  are  exceedingly  angry  if  any  one 
slights  it.  Sometimes  the  Forest-wife  will  come  with  a 
broken  wheelbarrow,  and  beg  to  have  the  wheel  repaired. 
She  will  then,  like  Berchta,  pay  with  the  chips  that  fall, 
which  turn  to  gold ;  or  to  knitters  she  gives  a  clew  of 
thread  that  is  never  wound  off.  As  often  as  any  one  twists 
the  stem  of  a  sapling,  so  that  the  bark  is  loosed,  a  Forest- 
wife  must  die.  A  peasant  woman,  who  had  given  the 
breast  to  a  screaming  forest-child,  the  mother  rewarded 
with  the  bark  on  which  the  child  lay.  The  woman  broke 

1  The  wood- wives  (Holzweibel)  come  to  the  wood-cutters  and  ask  for 
something  to  eat,  and  will  also  take  it  out  of  the  pots  ;  though  they  re 
munerate  for  what  they  have  taken  or  borrowed  in  some  other  way,  fre 
quently  with  good  advice.     Sometimes  they  will  help  in  the  labours  of 
the  kitchen  or  the  wash ;  but  always  express  great  dread  of  the  Wild 
Huntsman,  who  persecutes  them.     Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  452. 

2  Miiller,  p.  379. 


off  a  piece  and  threw  it  in  her  load  of  wood  :  at  home  she 
found  it  was  gold  l. 

Like  the  dwarfs,  the  Forest-wives  are  dissatisfied  with 
the  present  state  of  things.  In  addition  to  the  causes 
already  mentioned,  they  have  some  particular  reasons. 
The  times,  they  say,  are  no  longer  good  since  folks  count 
the  dumplings  in  the  pot  and  the  loaves  in  the  oven,  or 
since  they  piped*2  the  bread,  and  put  cumin  into  it.  Hence 
their  precepts  : — 

Peel  no  tree, 

relate  no  dream, 

pipe  no  bread,  or 

bake  no  cumin  in  bread, 

so  will  God  help  thee  in  thy  need. 

A  Forest-wife,  who  had  just  tasted  a  new-baked  loaf,  ran 
off  to  the  forest  screaming  aloud  : — 

They  've  baken  for  me  cumin-bread, 
that  on  this  house  brings  great  distress  ! 

And  the  prosperity  of  the  peasant  was  soon  on  the  wane, 
so  that  at  length  he  was  reduced  to  abject  poverty  3. 

Little  Forest-men,  who  have  long  worked  in  a  mill,  have 
been  scared  away  by  the  miller's  men  leaving  clothes  and 
shoes  for  them.  It  would  seem  that  by  accepting  clothes 
these  beings  were  fearful  of  breaking  the  relation  subsist 
ing  between  them  and  men.  We  shall  see  presently  that 
the  domestic  sprites  act  on  quite  a  different  principle  4. 

1  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  452. 

2  To  pipe  the  bread  (das  Brot  pipen)  is  to  impress  the  points  of  the 
fingers  into  the  loaf,  as  is  usual  in  most  places.   Perhaps  the  Forest-wives 
could  not  carry  off  piped  bread.     From  a  like  cause  they  were,  no  doubt, 
averse  to  the  counting.     Whether  the  seasoning  with  cumin  displeased 
them  merely  as  being  an  innovation,  or  for  some  hidden  cause,  we  know 
not,  but  the  rime  says  : — 

Kiimmelbrot  unser  Tod  !  Cumin-bread  our  death  ! 

Kiimmelbrot  macht  Angst  und  Cumin-bread  makes  pain  and 

Noth  !  affliction ! 

3  D.  M.  p.  452.  4  Ib. 


We  have  still  a  class  of  subordinate  beings  to  consider, 
viz.  the  domestic  sprites  or  Goblins  (Kobolde).  Nume 
rous  as  are  the  traditions  concerning  these  beings,  there 
seems  great  reason  to  conclude  that  the  belief  in  them,  in 
its  present  form,  did  not  exist  in  the  time  of  heathenism ; 
but  that  other  ideas  must  have  given  occasion  to  its  deve 
lopment.  The  ancient  mythologic  system  has  in  fact  no 
place  for  domestic  sprites  and  goblins.  Nevertheless,  we 
believe  that  by  tracing  up  through  popular  tradition,  we 
shall  discern  forms,  which  at  a  later  period  were  comprised 
under  the  name  of  Kobolds  *. 

The  domestic  sprites  bear  a  manifest  resemblance  to  the 
dwarfs.  Their  figure  and  clothing  are  represented  as  per 
fectly  similar;  they  evince  the  same  love  of  occupation, 
the  same  kind,  though  sometimes  evil,  nature.  We  have 
already  seen  that  the  dwarfs  interest  themselves  in  the 
prosperity  of  a  family 2,  and  in  this  respect  the  Kobolds 
may  be  partially  considered  as  dwarfs,  who,  for  the  sake  of 
taking  care  of  the  family,  fix  their  abode  in  the  house. 
In  the  Netherlands  the  dwarfs  are  called  Kabouterman- 
nekens,  that  is,  Kobolds3. 

The  domestic  sprite  is  satisfied  with  a  small  remune 
ration,  as  a  hat,  a  red  cloak,  and  party-coloured  coat  with 
tingling  bells.  Hat  and  cloak  he  has  in  common  with  the 
dwarfs  4. 

It  may  probably  have  been  a  belief  that  the  deceased 
members  of  a  family  tarried  after  death  in  the  house  as 
guardian  and  succouring  spirits,  and  as  such,  a  veneration 
might  have  been  paid  them  like  that  of  the  Romans  to 
their  lares.  It  has  been  already  shown  that  in  the  heathen 
times  the  departed  were  highly  honoured  and  revered,  and 
we  shall  presently  exemplify  the  belief  that  the  dead  cleave 

1  Mtiller,  p.  381.     According  to  the  Swedish  popular  belief,  the  do 
mestic  sprite  had  his  usual  abode  in  a  tree  near  the  house. 

2  See  p.  11.  3  Muller,  p.  382.  4  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  479. 


to  the  earthly,  and  feel  solicitous  for  those  they  have  left 
behind.  Hence  the  domestic  sprite  may  be  compared  to  a 
lar  familiaris,  that  participates  in  the  fate  of  its  family.  It 
is,  moreover,  expressly  declared  in  the  traditions  that  do 
mestic  sprites  are  the  souls  of  the  dead  l,  and  the  White 
Lady  who,  through  her  active  aid,  occupies  the  place  of  a 
female  domestic  sprite,  is  regarded  as  the  ancestress  of  the 
family,  in  whose  dwelling  she  appears  2. 

When  domestic  sprites  sometimes  appear  in  the  form  of 
snakes,  it  is  in  connection  with  the  belief  10.  genii  or  spirits 
who  preserve  the  life  and  health  of  certain  individuals. 
This  subject,  from  the  lack  of  adequate  sources,  cannot  be 
satisfactorily  followed  up ;  though  so  much  is  certain,  that 
as,  according  to  the  Roman  idea,  the  genius  has  the  form 
of  a  snake  3,  so,  according  to  the  German  belief,  this  crea 
ture  was  in  general  the  symbol  of  the  soul  and  of  spirits. 
Hence  it  is  that  in  the  popular  traditions  much  is  related 
of  snakes  which  resembles  the  traditions  of  domestic  sprites. 
Under  this  head  we  bring  the  tradition,  that  in  every 
house  there  are  two  snakes,  a  male  and  a  female,  whose 
life  depends  on  that  of  the  master  or  mistress  of  the  fa 
mily.  They  do  not  make  their  appearance  until  these 
die,  and  then  die  with  them.  Other  traditions  tell  of 
snakes  that  live  together  with  a  child,  whom  they  watch  in 
the  cradle,  eat  and  drink  with  it.  If  the  snake  is  killed, 
the  child  declines  and  dies  shortly  after.  In  general, 
snakes  bring  luck  to  the  house  in  which  they  take  up 
their  abode,  and  milk  is  placed  for  them  as  for  the  do 
mestic  sprites4. 

1  Kobolds  are  the  souls  of  persons  that  have  been  murdered  in  the 
house.     Grimm,  D.  S.  No.  71.    A  knife  sticks  in  their  back.  Ib.i.  p.  224. 
a  See  vol.  iii.  p.  9. 

3  Servius  in  Virgil,  vEn.  v.  85.   "  Nullus  locus  sine  genio  est,  qui  per 
anguem  plerumque  ostenditur." 

4  Miiller,  p.  383. 


We  will  now  give  a  slight  outline  of  the  externals  of 
divine  worship  among  the  heathen  Germans. 

The  principal  places  of  worship  were,  consistently  with 
the  general  character  of  the  Germans,  in  the  free,  open  na 
ture.  The  expression  of  Tacitus  was  still  applicable — "lucos 
ac  nemora  consecrant."  Groves  consecrated  to  the  gods 
are  therefore  repeatedly  mentioned,  and  heathen  practices 
in  them  forbidden  l.  In  Lower  Saxony,  even  in  the 
eleventh  century,  they  had  to  be  rooted  up,  by  Bishop 
Unwan  of  Bremen,  in  order  totally  to  extirpate  the  idola 
trous  worship  2.  But  still  more  frequently,  as  places  of 
heathen  worship,  trees  and  springs  are  mentioned,  either 
so  that  it  is  forbidden  to  perform  any  idolatrous  rites  at 
them,  or  that  they  are  directly  stigmatized  as  objects  of 
heathen  veneration  3.  At  the  same  time  we  are  not  justified 

1  Lucos  vetusta  religione  truces.     Claud.   Cons.  Stilich.  I.  289  ;    De 
sacris  silvarum,  quae  Nimidas  vocant.  Indie.  Superst.  6 ;  Lucorum  vel  fon- 
tium  auguria.     Bonifac.  Ep.  44.  ed.  Wiirdtw. ;  Si  quis  ad  lucos  votum 
fecerit.   Capit.  de  Part.  Saxon,  c.  21.  Comp.  Capit.  Francof.  a.  794,  c.  41 ; 
Sylvam  Sytheri,  quae  fuit  Thegathon  sacra.     Pertz,  Monum.  ii.  377.     For 
the  name  of  Thegathon  see  D.  M.  p.  65. 

2  Vita  Meinwerci,  c.  22  ;  comp.  Adam.  Brem.  c.  86. 

3  Claud.  Cons.  Stilich.  i.  290  :    Robora  numinis  instar  barbarici ;  Aga- 
thias,  28.  4.  edit.  Bonn.,  of  the  Alamanni:  devdpa  re  yap  nva  \\dcrKovTai 
Kai  peWpa  7TOTap.<Zv  ical  X60ous  KO.I  <j)dpayyas,  icai  TOVTOIS  axrTrep  o&ia 
Spwvres.  Gregor.  Tur.  n.  c,  10.  of  the  Franks  :  sibi  silvarum  atque  aqua- 
rum,  avium,bestiarum  et  aliorum  quoque  elementorum  finxere  formas,  ipsas- 
que  ut  deum  colere  ej usque  sacrificia  delibare  consueti.    Comp.  Gregor.  M. 
Epist.  7,  5  :  ne  idolis  immolent,  nee  cultores  arborum  existant.   Rudolf  of 
Fulda  (Pertz,  ii.  676)  of  the  Saxons  :  Frondosis  arboribus  fontibusque  ve- 
nerationem  exhibebant.     In  the  Lives  of  the  Saints  sacred  trees  are  par 
ticularly  noticed.  In  the  first  place  the  oak  dedicated  to  Jupiter,  at  Gheismar 
near  Fritzlar,  which  St.  Boniface  cut  down,  is  to  be  mentioned  :  Wilibaldi 
Vita  Bonifacii  (Pertz,  ii.  343)  :  Arborem  quandam  mirae  magnitudinis,  qua? 
prisco  paganorum  vocabulo  appellatur  robur  Jovis,  in  loco    qui   dicitur 
Gaesmere,  servis  Dei  secuni  astantibus,  succidere  tentavit.   Vita  S.  Amandi 
(ob.  674),  Mabillon,  Act.  Bened.  sec.  2.  p.  714  :  arbores  et  ligna  pro  dco 
colere  ;  and  p.  718:  ostendit  ei  locum,  in  quo  praedictum  idolum  adorare 
consueverat,  scilicet  arborem,  quae  erat  daemon!  dedicata.    Audoeni  Roto- 


in  assuming  that  a  sort  of  fetish  adoration  of  trees  and 
springs  existed  among  them,  and  that  their  religious  rites 
were  unconnected  with  the  idea  of  divine  or  semi-divine 
beings,  to  whom  they  offered  adoration ;  for  the  entire 
character  of  the  testimonies  cited  in  the  note  sufficiently 
proves  that  through  them  the  externals  only  of  the  pagan 
worship  have  been  transmitted  to  us,  the  motives  of  which 
the  transmitters  either  did  not  or  would  not  know  l. 

As  sacred  spots,  at  which  offerings  to  the  gods  were 
made,  those  places  were  particularly  used  where  there  were 
trees  and  springs.  The  trees  were  sacred  to  the  gods, 

mag,  Vita  Eligii  n.  c.  16  :  Nullus  Christianus  ad  fana,  vel  ad  petras,  vel  ad 
fontes,  vel  ad  arbores,  aut  ad  cellos,  vel  per  trivia  Imninaria  faciat,  aut  vota 
reddere  praesumat. — nee  per  fontes  aut  arbores,  vel  bivios  diabolica  phy- 
lacteria  exerceantur. — fontes  vel  arbores,  quos  sacros  vocant,  succidite. 
On  the  Blood  Tree  of  the  Langobards,  Vita  S.  Barbati  (ob.  683),  Act.  S.S. 
19  Feb.  p.  139 :  Quinetiam  non  longe  a  Beneventi  moenibus  devotissime 
sacrilegam  colebant  arborem.  Comp.  Leges  Liutpr.  vi.  30  :  Qui  ad  arborem, 
quam  rustici  sanguinum  (al.  sanctivam,  sacrivam)  vocant,  atque  ad  fontanas 
adoraverit.  The  prohibitions  in  the  decrees  of  the  councils  and  the  laws 
usually  join  trees  with  springs,  or  trees,  springs,  rocks  and  crossways  to 
gether.  Cone.  Autissiod.  a.  586,  c.  3 :  ad  arbores  sacrivas  vel  ad  fontes  vota 
exsolvere.  Comp.  Cone.  Turon.  n.  a.  566,  c.  22  ;  Indie.  Superst.  c.  11  ;  Bur- 
chard  of  Worms,  Collect.  Decret.  x.  10  (Cone.  Namnet.  a.  895,  c.  8) :  arbores 
daemonibus  consecratae,  quas  vulgus  colit  et  in  tanta  veneratione  habet, 
ut  nee  ramum  rel  surculum  audeat  amputare.  Ib.  xix.  5  (comp.  D.  M. 
p.  xxxvi.  1st  edit.) :  Venisti  ad  aliquem  locum  ad  orandum  nisi  ad  eccle- 
siam,  i.  e.  vel  ad  fontes,  vel  ad  lapides,  vel  ad  bivia,  et  ibi  aut  candelam 
aut  faculam  pro  veneratione  loci  incendisti,  aut  panem  aut  aliquani  obla- 
tionem  illuc  detulisti,  aut  ibi  comedisti  ?  Comp.  x.  2.  9.  Capitul.  de  Part. 
Sax.  c.  21:  Si  quis  ad  fontes,  aut  arbores,  vel  lucos  votum  fecerit,  aut 
aliquid  more  gentilium  obtulerit  et  ad  honorem  daemonum  comederit. 
Capit.  Aquisgr.  i.  c.  63 :  De  arboribus,  vel  petris,  vel  fontibus,  ubi  aliqui 
stulti  luminaria  accendunt,  vel  aliquas  observationes  faciunt.  Comp.  Capit. 
Francof.  a.  794,  c.  41.  Capitt.  lib.  i.  c.  62,  vn.  316,  374,  Lex  Wisigoth. 
lib.  vi.  2,  4.  Ecgb.  Penit.  iv.  19.  Law  of  North.  Priests,  54  ;  Leges  Cnuti, 
Sec.  5  ;  Can.  Eadgari,  16.  Whether  all  the  passages  which  refer  to  Gaul 
are  applicable  to  German  heathenism  is  not  always  certain,  as  trees  and 
springs  were  held  sacred  also  by  the  Kelts. 
i  Miiller,  p.  58. 


whose  festivals  were  solemnized  near  or  under  them ;  an 
instance  of  which  is  the  oak  sacred  to  Jupiter,  which  Boni 
face  caused  to  be  felled.  These  trees,  as  we  shall  presently 
see,  were,  at  the  sacrificial  feasts,  used  for  the  purpose  of 
hanging  on  them  either  the  animals  sacrificed  or  their 
hides,  whence  the  Langobardish  Blood-Tree  derives  its 
name1.  Similar  was  the  case  with  regard  to  the  springs 
at  which  offerings  were  made;  they  were  also  sacred  to 
the  god  whose  worship  was  there  celebrated,  as  is  con- 
firmed  by  the  circumstance,  that  certain  springs  in  Ger 
many  were  named  after  gods  and  were  situated  near  their 
sanctuaries2.  How  far  these  were  needful  in  sacrificial 
ceremonies,  and  in  what  manner  they  were  used,  we  know 

But  the  worship  of  trees  and  springs  may  in  reality 
have  consisted  in  a  veneration  offered  to  the  spirits  who, 
according  to  the  popular  faith,  had  their  dwelling  in  them  ; 
tradition  having  preserved  many  tales  of  beings  that  in 
habited  the  woods  and  waters,  and  many  traces  of  such 
veneration  being  still  extant,  of  which  we  shall  speak  here 
after.  It  seems,  however,  probable  that  the  worship  of 
such  spirits,  who  stood  in  a  subordinate  relation  to  the 
gods,  was  not  so  prominent  and  glaring  that  it  was  deemed 
necessary  to  issue  such  repeated  prohibitions  against  it4. 

This  double  explanation  applies  equally  to  the  third 
locality  at  which  heathen  rites  were  celebrated — stones 

1  If  such  be  the  true  reading,  which  is  very  questionable  (see  note, 
p.  256).     The  word  Hood  has  no  connection  with  the  verb  blotan,  to 

2  Muller,  pp.  58-61.     Near  the  grove  of  the  Frisian  god  Fosite  there 
was  a  sacred  spring.   Comp.  Vita  S.  Remacli,  c.  12  :  Warchinnam  rivulum 
accedit  (the  scene  of  the  incident  was  the  Ardennes),  invenit  illic  certa 
indicia  loca  ilia  quondam  idololatriae  fuisse  mancipata.     Erant  illic  lapides 
Dianse,  et  id  genus  portentosis  nominibus  inscripti,  vel  effigies  eorum  ha- 
bentes  ;  f antes  etiara,  hominum  quidem  usibus  apti,  sed  gentilismi  errori- 
bus  polluti,  atque  ob  id  etiamnuin  dsemonum  infestation!  obnoxii. 

3  Muller,  p.  61.  4  Ib.  p.  62. 


and  rocks1.  In  stones,  according  to  the  popular  belief, 
the  dwarfs  had  their  abode ;  but  principally  rugged  stone 
altars  are  thereby  understood,  such  as  still  exist  in  many 
parts  of  Germany2. 

We  are  unable  to  say  with  certainty  whether  the  before- 
mentioned  offering-places  served  at  the  same  time  as 
burying-grounds  of  the  dead,  a  supposition  rendered  pro 
bable  by  the  number  of  urns  containing  ashes,  which  are 
often  found  on  spots  supposed  to  have  been  formerly 
consecrated  to  heathen  worship.  But  the  graves  of  the 
dead,  at  all  events,  seem  designated  as  offering-places3. 
That  such  offerings  at  graves  were  sometimes  made  to  the 
souls  of  the  departed,  who  after  death  were  venerated  as 
higher  and  beneficent  beings,  may  be  assumed  from  the 
numerous  prohibitions,  by  the  Christian  church,  against 
offering  to  saints,  and  regarding  the  dead  indiscriminately 
as  holy4;  although  not  all  the  sacrificia  mortuorum  and 
the  heathen  observances,  which  at  a  later  period  took  place 
at  burials5,  may  have  had  reference  to  the  dead,  but  may 

1  See  p.  255,  note  3.   Comp.  Indie.  Superst.  c.  7.   Cone.  Namnet.  c.  20  : 
lapides,  quos  in  ruinosis  locis  et  silvestribus  daemonum   ludificationibus 
decepti  venerantur,  ubi  et  vota  vovent  et  deferunt.     Eccard,  Fran.  Orient. 
i.  p.  415. 

2  Muller,  p.  62. 

3  Burchard,  19.  5  :  Comedisti  aliquid  de  idolothito,  i.  e.  de  oblationibus 
quse  in  quibusdam  locis  ad  sepulchra  mortuorum  fiunt,  vel  ad  fontes,  aut 
ad  arbores,  aut  ad  lapides,  aut  ad  bivia. 

4  Indie.  Superst.  c.  9 :  De  sacrificio  quod  fit  alicui  sanctorum ;  c.  25 : 
De  eo  quod  sibi  sanctos  finguut  quoslibet  mortuos.     Cone.  Germ.  a.  742. 
can.  5  (comp.  Capitul.  vn.  128) :  ut  populus  Dei  paganias  non  faciat,  sed 
omnes  spurcities  gentilitatis  abjiciat  et  respuat,  sive  profana  sacrificia  mor 
tuorum,  sive  hostias  immolatitias,  quas  stulti  homines  juxta  ecclesias  ritu 
pagano  faciunt,  sub  nomine  sanctorum  martyrum  vel  confessorum. 

5  Indie.  Superst.  cc.  1,  2.     Burchard,  10,  34.     Bonifac.  Ep.  44:  sacri 
ficia  mortuorum  respuentes.     Ep.  82:  sacrilegis  presbyteris,  qui  tauros  et 
hircos  diis  paganorum  immolabant,  manducantes  sacrificia   mortuorum. 
Capit.  vi.  197 :  Admoneantur  fideles  ut  ad  suos  mortuos  non  agant  ea 
qua?  de  paganorum  ritu  remanserunt.    Et  quando  eos  ad  sepulturam  porta- 
verint,  ilium  ululatum  excelsum  non  faciant et  super  eorum  tumulos 


also  have  had  the  gods  for  object.  Hence  we  may  safely 
conclude  that  all  the  heathen  rites,  which  were  performed 
at  springs,  stones  and  other  places,  had  a  threefold  refer 
ence  :  their  object  being  either  the  gods,  the  subordinate 
elementary  spirits,  or  the  dead ;  but  in  no  wise  were  life 
less  objects  of  nature  held  in  veneration  by  our  forefathers 
for  their  own  sakes  alone1. 

It  now  remains  for  consideration  whether  the  gods  were 
worshiped  only  in  such  places  in  the  open  air,  or  whether 
temples  were  erected  to  them.  In  answer  to  this  question 
we  shall  limit  ourselves  to  a  few  general  observations2. 

In  general  it  appears  that  temples,  even  at  the  period 
of  the  conversion,  were,  as  in  the  time  of  Tacitus,  but  few. 
In  the  interior  of  Germany  it  is  probable  that  none  existed ; 
for,  had  the  case  been  otherwise,  we  should  hardly  have 
been  without  some  notice  of  a  temple  among  the  Saxons3. 
There  is,  however,  little  doubt  that  the  Frisians  had  tem 
ples  ;  for  the  words  of  the  Lex  Frisionum  :  ' '  Qui  templum 
effregerit immoletur  diis,  quorum  templa  violavit4," 

nee  manducare  nee  bibere  praesumant.  Towards  the  middle  of  the  ninth 
century  the  Roman  synod  under  Leo  IV.  forbade  to  the  Saxons  the  car- 
mina  diabolica,  quae  nocturnis  horis  super  mortuos  vulgus  facere  solet. 
Comp.  Wackernagel,  Das  Wessobrunner  Gebet,  p.  25. 

1  Miiller,  p.  63. 

2  Grimm  has  collected  and  discussed  all  the  authorities  which  make 
mention  of  temples  among  the  German  tribes.     See  D.  M.  pp.  70-77. 
Miiller,  p.  65. 

3  The  passage  of  the  Capitulary  de  Part.  Saxon,  i. :  "  ut  ecclesiae  Christi 
non  minorem  habeant  honorem,  sed  majorem  et  excellentiorem  quam  fana 
(ap.  Pertz  vana)  habuissent  idolorum,"  is  rejected  by  Schaumann,  Gesch. 
des  Niedersachs.  Volks,  p.  133.     Comp.  Beda's  account  of  the  destruction 
of  the  Anglian  temple  at  Godmundham  in  Yorkshire  (a.  627),  also  in 
Lappenberg's  England,  i.  pp.  151-153. 

4  Lex  Frisionum  Addit.  Sap.  xn       According  to  the  Vita  S.  Liudgeri, 
i.  8,  treasures  were  kept  in  the  Frisian  temples.     Comp.  also  "fana  in 
morem  gentilium  circumquaque  erecta"  in  the  Vita  S,  Willehadi  (ob.  789), 
ap.  Pertz,  ii.  381,  and  the  fana  of  Fosite  in  Vita  S.  Willebrordi  (ob.  739) 
in  Act.  Bened.  sec.  3,  p.  609;  Altfridi  Vita  S.  Liudgeri  ap.  Pertz,  ii.  410. 


precludes  all  doubt  on  the  subject.  But  with  respect  to 
the  temples,  of  which  mention  is  made,  either  on  the 
Rhine  or  in  Gaul  (where  the  greater  number  occur),  it  is 
doubtful  whether  they  are  not  rather  to  be  considered  as 
Keltic,  which  the  invading  Franks  and  Burgundians  ap 
propriated  to  themselves;  as  heathenism  is  inclined  to 
dedicate  to  its  own  worship  places  regarded  by  others  as 
holy.  With  respect  to  other  places,  the  accounts  supplied 
by  the  authorities  are  so  vague,  that  it  cannot  be  pro 
nounced  with  certainty  whether  the  question  is  of  a  temple 
or  a  grove,  as  the  "  fanum  arboribus  eonsitum,"  which  is 
mentioned  among  the  Langobardi l,  can  certainly  have 
been  only  a  grove.  The  fourth  chapter  of  the  Indiculus, 
"  De  casulis,  i.  e.  fanis,"  may  refer  to  small  buildings, 
in  which  probably  sacrificial  utensils  or  sacred  symbols 
were  kept2. 

The  paucity  of  temples  among  the  Germans  implies  also 
a  paucity  of  idols  among  them ;  for  the  heathen  temple 
did  not,  like  a  Christian  church,  serve  for  the  reception  of 
a  holyday  congregation,  but  was  originally  a  mere  shelter 
or  house  for  the  image  of  the  god.  Certainly  we  are  not 
justified  in  totally  denying  the  presence  of  images ;  as  it 
is  expressly  stated  that  the  Gothic  king  Athanric  (ob.  382) 
caused  a  carved  image  to  be  carried  about3,  which,  like 
Nerthus,  was  everywhere  received  with  prayers  and  offer 
ings.  Nor  are  we,  at  the  same  time,  justified  in  as 
suming  the  fact  of  their  existence  among  all  the  German 
nations ;  and  although  in  the  authorities  idola  and  simu 
lacra  are  repeatedly  mentioned,  and  great  zeal  is  mani 
fested  against  the  folly  of  the  heathen,  in  expecting  aid 
from  images  of  gold,  silver,  stone  and  wood ;  yet  are  these 
only  general  forms  of  speech  directed  against  idolatry,  and 

1  Vita  S.  Bertulfi  Bobbiensis  (ob.  640),  in  Act.  Bened.  sec.  2,  p.  164. 

2  Miiller,  p.  65. 

3  %6avov  e<j)'  appafjid^s  eorws.     Sozomen.  Hist.  Eccles.  vi.  37. 


applying  rather  to  Roman  than  German  heathenism1.  We 
have  in  fact  no  genuine  or  trustworthy  testimony  that 
clearly  describes  to  us  an  idol  in  Germany  Proper.  In  no 
Life  of  a  saint  is  it  related  that  a  converter  destroyed  such 
an  idol.  On  the  contrary,  all  the  passages,  which  here 
enter  into  consideration,  point  either  to  a  blending  of 
foreign  worship,  or,  on  closer  examination,  there  is  no 
question  in  them  of  an  idol,  or  they  are  of  doubtful  cha 

The  three  brazen  and  gilt  images,  which  St.  Gall  found 
and  destroyed  at  Bregenz  on  the  Lake  of  Constance,  built 
into  the  wall  of  a  church  dedicated  to  St.  Aurelia,  and 
venerated  by  the  people  as  gods,  were  no  doubt  of  Roman 
origin3,  like  those  stone  images  which  St.  Columban  (ob. 
615)  met  with  at  Luxeuil  in  Franche  Comte4.  The  statue 
of  Diana  at  Treves,  and  the  images  of  Mars  and  Mercury 
in  the  south  of  Gaul,  of  which  Gregory  of  Tours  makes 
mention5,  are  likewise  rather  Roman  or  Keltic  than  Ger 
man.  Not  even  the  noted  and  in  other  respects  remark 
able  passage  of  Widukind  (i.  12),  according  to  which  the 
Saxons,  after  their  victory  over  the  Thuringians  on  the 
Unstrut,  raised  an  altar  and  worshiped  a  god  "nomine 
MaYtem,effigie  columnarwn  imitantesHerculem,loco  Solera, 

1  Similar  forms  of  speech  are  numerous :  e.  g.  Gregor.  Tur.  Hist.  Franc, 
ii.  29.   Willibald,  Vita  Bonifac.  II.  339,  ap.  Pertz.  Vita  Willehadi,  ib.  II. 
380.     Bonifac.  Ep.  6 ;  Vita  Lebuini,  ib.  II.  362.     Vita  S.  Kiliani  in  Act. 
Bened.  sec.  2.  p.  992.     Idola  was  the  usual  denomination  of  the  heathen 
gods.     The  passages,  however,  in  the  Vita  Bonifacii  and  Vita  Willehadi, 
which  refer  to  the  Frisians,  may  appear  convincing,  as  they  had  temples 

2  Miiller,  p.  65. 

3  Walafrid.  Strab.  Vita  S.  Galli,  in  Act.  Bened.  sec.  2.  p.  233.     Comp. 
Vita  S.  Galli  ap.  Pertz,  ii.  7 ;  Ratperti  Casus  S.  Galli,  ap.  Pertz,  ii.  61. 

4  JonseBobbiensisVitaS.Columbani,c.  17,in  Act.  Bened.  sec. 2.  pp.12, 13. 

5  Hist.  Franc,  vm.  15.    Mirac.  2.  5  :  grande  delubrum,  ubi  in  columna 
altissima  simulacrum  Martis  Mercuriique  colebatur. 


quern  Grseci  appellant  Apollinem,"  appears  to  us  unques 
tionably  to  indicate  a  true  idol.  We  can  infer  from  the 
words  of  Widukind  nothing  more  than  the  erection  of  a 
column  similar  to  the  Irmenseule  at  Eresburg,  which 
Charles  the  Great  destroyed.  In  the  passages  which  relate 
to  this  latter1  it  is  called  sometimes  idolum,  sometimes 
fanum,  sometimes  lucus',  but  the  word  itself  shows  that 
Rudolf  of  Fulda  was  right  in  defining  it  ' '  truncum  ligni 
non  parvaB  magnitudinis  in  altum  erectum,"  nor  is  his 
expression  for  it  of  "universalis  columna"  an  unfitting 

The  history  of  the  development  of  Greek  and  Roman 
image  worship  may  aid  us  to  a  clearer  insight  into  our 
native  heathenism.  The  Greek  representation  of  a  god 
had  not  from  the  commencement  the  pretension  of  being  a 
likeness  of  the  god,  but  was  only  a  symbol  of  his  presence, 
for  a  sense  of  which  the  piety  of  ancient  times  required 
the  less  of  externals  the  more  deeply  it  was  impressed 
with  the  belief  of  that  presence3.  An  external  sign  of  the 
divinity  was,  nevertheless,  necessary  for  the  sake  of  having 
an  object  on  which  pious  veneration  of  the  gods  might 
manifest  itself.  As,  therefore,  both  in  Hellas  and  Italy, 
the  antique  representations  of  the  gods,  as  lances,  etc., 
were  mere  symbols,  in  like  manner  we  may  regard  the 
swords  of  the  Quadi  and  the  golden  snakes  of  the  Lango- 
bardi  only  as  consecrated  signs  announcing  the  presence 
of  the  god.  The  representations  of  the  gods  next  deve 
loped  themselves,  among  the  Greeks,  under  the  form  of 
rough  stones,  stone  pillars  and  wooden  poles,  which  were 

1  See  the  passages  relating  to  the  Irmenseule  in  Meibom.  de  Irminsula 
Saxonica,  in  Rer.  Germ.  Scriptt.  iii.  pp.  2,  sq.   D.  M.  pp.  105,  sq.     Comp. 
also  Ideler's  Einhard,  i.  156,  sq. 

2  Miiller,  p.  67.     Rudolf.  Fuld.  Transl.  S.  Alexandri,  ap.  Pertz,  ii.  676. 

3  0.  Miiller,  Handbuch  der  Archseologie  der  Kunst,  §  66. 


set  up  and  regarded  as  images  of  the  gods.  Raised-up 
poles  or  beams  were,  no  doubt,  also  among  the  Germans 
the  prevailing  and  still  symbolic  species  of  images.  The 
Irmenseule  was  such  a  pole  :  to  such  an  image,  if  so  it  can 
be  called,  to  a  simple  up-raised  pillar,  does  the  before« 
quoted  passage  of  Widukind  allude1. 

That  prayers  to  the  gods  were  frequently  composed  in  a 
metrical  form,  that  religious  songs  and  poems  existed,  is 
evident  from  the  circumstance  that  the  Langobardi  offered 
to  one  of  their  gods  the  head  of  a  goat,  with  certain  cere 
monies  and  accompanied  by  a  song2.  The  passage  which 
gives  this  account  affords  ground  for  the  supposition  that 
certain  saltations  took  place  at  the  sacrifices.  And  why 
should  there  not  be  religious  songs  at  this  period,  when,  at 
a  still  earlier,  songs  in  honour  of  Hercules  were  sung  be 
fore  a  battle,  when  Tacitus  makes  mention  of  old  mytho- 
epic  songs  in  which  the  traditions  of  the  German  people 
were  recorded  ?  The  oldest  poetry  of  a  nation  generally 
attaches  itself  closely  to  religion,  and  the  numerous  forms 
of  adjurations  and  spells,  which  through  tradition  we  have 
inherited  from  heathenism,  are  for  the  most  part  com 
posed  in  a  rhythmical  garb.  It  may,  therefore,  be  reason 
ably  supposed  that  the  popular  songs  were,  in  the  first 
Christian  centuries,  so  bitterly  decried  by  the  clergy  be 
cause  they  contained  many  remains  of  heathenism,  and, 
consequently,  seemed  perilous  to  Christianity.  The  stig 
matizing  of  the  popular  songs  as  carmina  diabolica,  the 
predicates  turpia,  inepta,  obsccena  applied  to  them  give 
to  this  supposition  additional  strength;  and  the  Capitu 
laries  explicitly  forbid  dances  and  songs  as  relics  of 

1  Miiller,  p.  70. 

2  Gregor.  M.  Dialog.  III.  28 :    Caput  caprse  ei  (diabolo)  per  circuitum 
currentes,  carmine  nefando  dedicantes.    In  the  grove  of  sacrifice  by  Up- 
sala  naenia  inhonesta  resounded.     Ad.  Brem.  p.  144,  edit.  Lindenbrog. 


heathenism1.  At  funerals  also  heathen  religious  songs 
were  sung2. 

With  prayer,  sacrifice,  which  formed  the  chief  part  of 
heathen  worship,  was  inseparably  connected.  In  general 
there  was  prayer  only  at  the  sacrifices.  The  principal 
sacrifice  was  a  human  one,  the  offering  of  which  by  all  the 
Germanic  races  is  fully  proved3.  Human  beings  appear 
chiefly  to  have  served  for  sacrifices  of  atonement,  and  were 
either  offered  to  the  malign  deities,  or,  as  propitiatory,  to 
the  dead  in  the  nether  world4.  The  custom  of  burning 
the  servants  and  horses  with  the  corpse,  must,  therefore, 
be  understood  as  a  propitiatory  sacrifice  to  the  shade  of 
the  departed5. 

The  testimonies  just  cited  on  the  subject  of  human 

1  Capit.  vi.  c.  196 :  Illas  veto  balationes  et  saltationes,  cantica  turpia 
et  luxuriosa,  et  ilia  lusa  diabolica  non  facial,  nee  in  plateis  nee  in  domibus 
neque  in  ullo  loco,  quia  hfec  de  paganorum  consuetudine  remanserunt. 
Vita  S.  Eligii,  II.  16  :  Nullas  saltationes,  aut  choraulas,  aut  cantica  dia 
bolica  exerceat.  For  the  prohibitions  of  the  ancient  popular  songs,  the  reader 
is  referred  to  the  collections  of  extracts  on  the  subject,  as  Wackernagel, 
Das  Wessobrunner  Gebet,  pp.  25-29  ;  Hofmann,  Geschichte  des  Deutschen 
Kirchenliedes,  pp.  8-11 ;  Massmann,  Abschworungsformeln. 

2  Miiller,  p.  74. 

3  For  human  sacrifices  among  the  Goths,  see  Jornandes,  c.  5 ;  Isidori 
Chron.  Goth,  sera  446;  among  the  Heruli,  Procop.  de  Bello  Goth.  n.  14; 
among  the  already  converted  Franks,  ib.  II.  25  ;  the  Saxons,  Sidon.  Apoll. 
8.  6,  Capit.  de  Part.  Sax.  9 ;  the  Frisians,  Lex  Fris.  Addit.  Sap.  Tit.  12 ; 
Thuringians,  Bonifac.  Ep.  25.     Comp.  D.  M.  p.  39. 

4  The  great  sacrifice  at  Lethra,  described  by  Dietmar  of  Merseburg,  I.  9, 
at  which  ninety-nine  men,  and  a  like  number  of  horses,  dogs  and  cocks 
were  offered,  was  evidently  a  sacrifice  of  propitiation. 

5  Miiller,  p.  76.   Tacitus  (Germ.  27)  testifies  only  to  the  burning  of  the 
horse.     In  the  North  servants  and  hawks  were  burnt  with  the  corpse.   In 
the  grave  of  King  Childeric  a  human  skull  was  found,  which  was  supposed 
to  have  been  that  of  his  marshal.     The  wives  of  the  Heruli  hanged  them 
selves  at  the  graves  of  their  husbands.    Procop.  B.  G.  II.  14.     Among  the 
Gauls  also  it  was  customary  to  burn  the  slaves  and  clients  with  the  corpse 
of  a  man  of  high  rank.   Caesar,  B.  G.  IV.  19. 


sacrifices  inform  us  at  the  same  time  that  prisoners  of  war 

as  in  the  time  of  Tacitus — purchased  slaves  or  criminals 

were  especially  chosen  for  sacrifice1.  When  a  criminal 
was  sacrificed,  his  death  was  at  the  same  time  the  penalty 
of  his  misdeeds.  He  was  offered  to  the  god  whom,  it  was 
believed,  he  had  particularly  offended,  and  his  execution, 
decreed  by  the  law,  was  reserved  for  the  festival  of  that 
divinity.  This  usage,  which  gives  an  insight  into  the  inti 
mate  connection  between  law  and  religion,  and  shows  the 
punishment  of  death  among  the  Germans  in  a  peculiar 
light,  is  particularly  conspicuous  among  the  Frisians. 
This  people  put  criminals  chosen  for  sacrifice  to  death  in 
various  ways ;  they  were  either  decapitated  with  a  sword, 
or  hanged  on  a  gallows,  or  strangled,  or  drowned2.  A 
more  cruel  punishment  awaited  those  who  had  broken  into 
and  robbed  the  temple  of  a  god3. 

Of  animals  used  for  sacrifice,  horses,  oxen  and  goats  are 
especially  mentioned.  The  horse-sacrifice  was  the  most 
considerable,  and  is  particularly  characteristic  of  the  Ger 
manic  races.  The  heads  were  by  preference  offered  to  the 
gods,  and  were  fixed  or  hung  on  trees.  The  hides  also  of 
the  sacrificed  animals  were  suspended  on  sacred  trees.  In 
the  North  the  flesh  of  the  sacrifices  was  boiled,  and  the 
door-posts  of  the  temple  were  smeared  with  their  blood4. 

1  According  to  the  Vita  S.  Wulframmi  (ob.  720)  in  Act.  Bened.  sec.  3, 
pp.  359,  361,  the  individuals  to  be  sacrificed  were  sometimes  chosen  by 
lot.    The  accounts  given  in  this  Life  seem  rather  fabulous,  but  are,  never 
theless,  not  to  be  rejected.    S.  Willibrord  and  his  companions,  when  they 
had  desecrated  the  sanctuary  of  Fosite,  were  subjected  to  the  lot,  and  the 
one  on  whom  the  lot  fell  was  executed.     Alcuini  Vita  S.  Willibr.  c.  10. 
Among  the  Slaves  also  human  sacrifices  were  determined  by  lot.     Jahrb. 
fur  Slaw.  Lit.  1843,  p.  392. 

2  Vita  S.  Wulframmi,  p.  360. 

3  Miiller,  p.  77.    Lex  Frisionum,  Addit.  Sap.  Tit.  12.    Qui  fanum  effre- 
gerit  et  ibi  aliquid  de  sacris  tulerit,  ducitur  ad  mare,  et  in  sabulo,  quod 
accessus  maris  operire  solet,  finduntur  aures  ejus,  et  castratur,  et  immo- 
latur  diis,  quorum  templa  violavit.  4  Miiller,  p.  79. 



The  Indiculus  (cap.  26)  leads  to  the  supposition  of  a 
particular  kind  of  offering.  The  Simulacrum  de  consparsa 
farina  there  mentioned  appears  to  be  the  baked  image  of 
a  sacrificial  animal,  which  was  offered  to  the  gods  in  the 
stead  of  a  real  one.  Similar  usages  are  known  to  us  among 
the  Greeks  and  Romans,  and  in  Sweden,  even  in  recent 
times,  it  was  a  custom  on  Christmas  eve  to  bake  cakes  in 
the  form  of  a  hog1. 

It  was  extremely  difficult  to  prevent  a  relapse  into 
heathenism,  seeing  that  to  retain  a  converted  community 
in  the  true  faith,  well-instructed  ecclesiastics  were  indis 
pensable,  and  these  were  few  in  number,  the  clergy  being 
but  too  frequently  persons  of  profane  and  ungodly  life. 
In  many  cases  it  was  doubtful  whether  they  had  even  re 
ceived  ordination2.  Instances  might  therefore  occur  like 
that  recorded  in  the  Life  of  St.  Gall,  that  in  an  oratory 
dedicated  to  St.  Aurelia  idols  were  afterwards  worshiped 
with  offerings3 ;  and  we  have  seen  that  the  Franks,  after 
their  conversion,  in  an  irruption  into  Italy,  still  sacrificed 
human  victims.  Even  when  the  missionaries  believed 
their  work  sure,  the  return  of  the  season,  in  which  the 
joyous  heathen  festivals  occurred,  might  in  a  moment  call 
to  remembrance  the  scarcely  repressed  idolatry ;  an  inter 
esting  instance  of  which,  from  the  twelfth  century,  we 
shall  see  presently.  The  priests,  whose  duty  it  was  to 
retain  the  people  in  their  Christianity,  permitted  them 
selves  to  sacrifice  to  the  heathen  gods,  if,  at  the  same  time, 
they  could  perform  the  rite  of  baptism 4.  They  were 
addicted  to  magic  and  soothsaying5,  and  were  so  infatu- 

1  Miiller,  p.  80.   See  vol.  ii.  p.  50.  2  Bonifac.  Ep.  38,  46. 

3  See  page  249. 

4  Bonifac.  Ep.  25  :  Qui  a  presbytero  Jovi  mactante  et  immolatitias  car- 
nes  vescente  baptizati  sunt.     Comp.  Ep.  82  and  Capitul.  vii.  405. 

5  Statut.  Bonifac.  33,  p.  142,  ed.  Wiirdtw. :  Si  quis  presbyter  aut  cleri- 
cus  auguria,  vel  divinationes,  aut  somnia,  sive  sortes,  seu  phylacteria,  id 
est,  scripturas,  observaverit. 


ated  with  heathenism  that  they  erected  crosses  on  hills, 
and  with  great  approbation  of  the  people,  celebrated  Chris 
tian  worship  on  heathen  offering-places1. 

But  the  clergy  were  under  the  necessity  of  suffering 
much  heathenism  to  remain,  if  they  would  not  totally  dis 
turb  and  subvert  the  social  order  of  life.  Heathen  insti 
tutions  of  a  political  nature  might  no  more  be  attacked 
than  others,  which  a  significant  and  beneficial  custom  had 
made  venerable  and  inviolable.  The  heathen  usages  con 
nected  with  legal  transactions  must  for  the  most  part  re 
main,  if  the  clergy  would  not  also  subvert  the  law  itself, 
or  supplant  it  by  the  Roman  code,  according  to  which  they 
themselves  lived.  Hence  the  place  and  time  of  the  judicial 
assemblies  remained  unchanged  in  their  connection  with 
the  heathen  offering-places  and  festivals2;  although  the 
offerings  which  had  formerly  been  associated  with  these 
meetings  had  altogether  ceased.  In  like  manner  the  old 
heathen  ordeals  maintained  their  ground,  though  in  a  Chris 
tian  guise.  Offenders  must  be  punished,  and  the  clergy 
patiently  saw  heathen  practices  accompanying  the  punish 
ment,  because  the  culprit  was  an  unworthy  Christian3.  In 

1  Miiller,  p.  103.   Bonifac.  Ep.  87 :  Pseudosacerdotes,  qui  sine  episcopo, 
proprio  arbitrio  viventes,  populares  defensores  habentes  contra  episcopos, 
ut  sceleratos  mores  eorum  non  confringant,  seorsuui  populum  consen- 
taneum  congregant,  et  illud  erroneum  ministerium  non  in  ecclesia  catholica, 
sed  per  agrestia  loca,  per  colles  rusticorum,  ubi  eorum  imperita  stultitia 
celari  episcopos  possit,  perpetrarit,  nee  fidem  catholicam  paganis  predicant, 
nee  ipsi  fidem  rectam  habent.     Of  the  Prankish  priest  Adalbert  it  is  said, 
that  he  seduced  the  people,  ita  ut  cruces  statuens  in  campis  et  oratoriola, 
illuc  faciat  populum  concurrere,  publicasque  ecclesias  relinquere.     Comp. 
Ep.  59,  67. 

2  Grimm,  Deutsche  Rechtsalterthiimer,  793,  822. 

3  E.  g.  When  criminals  were  hanged  with  wolves  or  dogs,  which  at  a 
later  period  was  regarded  as  particularly  ignominious.  Grimm,  D.R.  A.  685. 
Criminals  were  buried  in  crossways,  the  old  heathen  offering-places,  and 
the  gallows  stood  at  the  intersection.    Ib.  720,  683.     In  general,  certain 
customs  at  executions,  as  dragging  the  criminal  on  a  cowhide,  are  probably 
regarded  as  the  more  ignominious,  because  they  were  originally  heathen. 



matters  of  warfare  and  the  heathenism  still  practised  in  the 
field,  the  clergy  were  equally  powerless.  Hence  the  Chris 
tian  Franks,  as  we  have  already  seen,  when  they  invaded 
Italy,  sacrificed  men,  while  such  cruelty  in  ordinary  life 
had  long  been  abolished  among  them.  Thus  did  much 
heathenism  find  its  way  back  during  the  first  Christian  age, 
or  maintained  its  ground  still  longer,  because  it  was  sanc 
tioned  by  law  and  usage.  Where  the  converters  in  their 
blind  zeal  would  make  inroads  into  the  social  relations,  the 
admission  of  Christianity  met  with  many  hindrances.  The 
teaching  of  St.  Kilian  had  found  great  favour  with  the 
Frankish  duke  Gozbert ;  but  when  he  censured  that  prince 
for  having  espoused  a  relation,  he  paid  for  his  presumption 
with  his  life.  Among  the  Saxons  Christianity  encountered 
such  strong  opposition,  because  with  its  adoption  was  con 
nected  the  loss  of  their  old  national  constitution1. 

As  the  missionaries  thus  found  themselves  obliged  to 
proceed  with  caution,  and  were  unable  to  extirpate  hea 
thenism  at  one  effort,  they  frequently  accommodated  them 
selves  so  far  to  the  heathen  ideas  as  to  seek  to  give  them 
a  Christian  turn.  Many  instances  of  such  accommoda 
tions  can  be  adduced.  On  places,  for  instance,  regarded 
by  the  heathen  as  sacred,  Christian  churches  were  con 
structed2,  or,  at  least  crosses  there  erected3,  that  they 

1  Miiller,  p.  104. 

2  Vita  S.  Agili  Resbac.  in  Act.  Bened.  sec.  2.  p.  31 7;  Vita  S.  Amandi, 
ib.  p.  715 ;  Vita  Liudgeri  ap.  Pertz,  n.  p.  410;  Gregor.  M.  Ep.  ad  Mel- 
litum  (Beda,  H.  E.  I.  30) :  "  Dicite  ei   (Augustino)  quid  diu  mecura  de 
causa  Anglorum  cogitans  tractavi :  videlicet,  quia  fana  idolorum  destrui 
in  eadem  gente  minime  dcbeant ;  sed  ea  quae  in  ipsis  sunt  idola  destru- 
antur ;  aqua  benedicta  fiat,  in  eisdem  fanis  aspergatur,  altaria  construantur, 
reliquiae  ponantur ;  quia  si  fana  eadem  bene  constructa  sunt,  necesse  est  ut 
a  cult u  daemonum  in  obsequium  veri  Dei  debeant  commutari,  ut,  dum  gens 
ipsa  eadem  fana  sua  non  videt  destrui,  de  corde  errorem  deponat,  et  Deum 
verum  cognoscens  et  adorans,  ad  loca  quae  consuevit  familiarius  concurrat." 

3  Mone,  Gesch.  des  Heidenthums,  ii.  52.     Schreiber,  die  Feen  in  Eu- 
ropa,  p.  18. 



might  no  longer  be  used  for  heathen  worship,  and  that 
the"  people  might  the  more  easily  accustom  themselves  to 
regard  them  as  holy  in  a  Christian  sense.  The  wood  of 
the  oak  felled  hy  Boniface1  was  made  into  a  pulpit,  and 
of  the  gold  of  the  Langobardish  snake2  altar-vessels  were 
fabricated.  Christian  festivals  were  purposely  appointed 
on  days  which  had  been  kept  as  holy  days  by  the  hea 
thens  ;  or  heathenish  festivals,  with  the  retention  of  some 
of  their  usages,  were  converted  into  Christian  ones3.  If, 
on  the  one  side,  through  such  compromises,  entrance  was 
gained  for  Christianity,  so  on  the  other  they  hindered  the 
rapid  and  complete  extirpation  of  heathenism,  and  occa 
sioned  a  mixture  of  heathenish  ideas  and  usages  with 
Christian  ones4. 

To  these  circumstances  it  may  be  ascribed  that  hea 
thenism  was  never  completely  extirpated,  that  not  only 
in  the  first  centuries  after  the  conversion,  an  extraordinary 
blending  of  heathenism  and  Christianity  existed,  but  that 
even  at  the  present  day  many  traces  of  heathen  notions 
and  usages  are  to  be  found  among  the  common  people. 
As  late  as  the  twelfth  century  the  clergy  in  Germany  were 
still  occupied  in  eradicating  the  remains  of  heathenism5. 

The  missionaries  saw  in  the  heathen  idols  and  in  the 

i  See  page  257.  2  See  page  262. 

3  In  the  letter  just  cited  of  Gregory  it  is  further  said :  "  Et  quia  boves 
solent  in  saerificio  dsemonum  multos  occidere,  debet  eis  etiam  hac  de  re 
aliqua  sollemnitas  iramutari ;  ut  die  dedications,  vel  natalitiis  sanctorum 
martyrum,  quorum  illic  reliquiae  ponuntur,  tabernacula  sibi  circa  easdem 
ecclesias,  quse  ex  fanis  commutatse  sunt,  de  ramis  arborum  faciant,  et  re- 
ligiosis  conviviis  sollemnitatem  celebrent ;  nee  diabolo  jam  animalia  immo- 
lent,  sed  ad  laudem  Dei  in  esu  suo  animalia  occidant,  et  Donatori  omnium 
de  satietate  sua  gratias  referant ;  ut  dum  eis  aliqua  exterius  gaudia  reser- 
vantur,  ad  interiora  gaudia  consentire  facilius  valeant.  Nam  duris  menti- 
bus  simul  omnia  abscidere  impossibile  esse  non  dubium  est ;  quia  et  is, 
qui  summum  locum  ascendere  nititur,  gradibus  vel  passibus,  non  autem 
saltibus  elevatur." 

*  Miiller,  p.  106.  5  Ib.  p.  108. 


adoration  paid  to  them  only  a  delusion  of  the  devil,  who, 
under  their  form,  had  seduced  men  to  his  worship,  and 
even  believed  that  the  images  of  the  gods  and  the  sacred 
trees  were  possessed  by  the  evil  one.     Thus  they  did  not 
regard  the  heathen  deities  as  so  many  perfect  non-entities, 
but  ascribed  to  them  a  real  existence,  and,  to  a  certain 
degree,  stood  themselves  in  awe  of  them.     Hence  their 
religion  was  represented  to  the  heathens  as  a  work  of  the 
devil,  and  the  new  converts  were,  in  the  first  place,  required 
to  renounce  him  and  his  service.    In  this  manner  the  idea 
naturally  impressed  itself  on  the  minds  of  the  people  that 
these  gods  were  only  so  many  devils ;  and  if  any  person,  in 
the  first  period  of  Christianity,  was  brought  to  doubt  the 
omnipotence  of  the  God  of  the  Christians,  and  relapsed 
into  idolatry,  the  majority  regarded  such  apostasy  as  a  sub 
mission  to  the  devil.    Hence  the  numerous  stories  of  com 
pacts  with  the  evil  one,  at  which  the  individual,  who  so 
devoted  himself,  must  abjure  his  belief  in  God,  Christ,  and 
the  Virgin  Mary,  precisely  as  the  newly  converted  Chris 
tian  renounced  the  devil.     That  the  devil  in  such  stories 
frequently  stood  in  the  place  of  a  heathen  god  is  evident 
from  the  circumstance,  that  offerings  must  be  made  to  him 
in  crossways,  those  ancient  places  of  sacrifice1. 

But  heathenism  itself  entertained  the  belief  in  certain 
beings  hostile  alike  to  gods  and  men,  and  at  the  same 
time  possessed  of  extraordinary  powers,  on  account  of 
which  their  aid  frequently  appeared  desirable.  We  shall 
presently  see  how  in  the  Popular  Tales  the  devil  is  often 
made  to  act  the  part  which  more  genuine  traditions  assign 
to  the  giant  race,  and  how  he  not  unfrequently  occupies 
the  place  of  kind,  beneficent  spirits2. 

1  Miiller,  p.  109.     Hence  the  expressions  "  diabolo  sacrificare,"  "  dia- 
boli  in  amorem  vinum  bibere."     A  black  hen  was  offered  to  the  devil. 
See  vol.  iii.  p.  256.   Harrys,  i.  No.  55.   Temme,  Sagen  Pommerns,  No.  233 

2  Miiller,  p.  110. 


Let  it  not  excite  surprise  that,  in  the  popular  stories 
and  popular  belief,  Christ  and  the  saints  are  frequently  set 
in  the  place  of  old  mythologic  beings l.    Many  a  tradition, 
which  in  one  place  is  related  of  a  giant  or  the  devil,  is  in 
another  told  of  Christ,  of  Mary,  or  of  some  saint.     As 
formerly  the  minne  (memory,  remembrance,  love)  of  the 
gods  was  drunk2,  so  now  a  cup  was  emptied  to  the  memory 
or  love  of  Christ  and  the  saints,  as  St.  John's  minne,  Ger- 
trud's  minne.     And,  as  of  old,  in  conjurations  and  various 
forms  of  spells,  the  heathen  deities  were  invoked,  so,  after 
the  conversion,   Christ  and  the    saints   were   called  on. 
Several  religious  usages  which  were  continued  became  in 
the  popular  creed  attached  to  a  feast-day  or  to  a  Christian 
saint,  although  they  had  formerly  applied  to  a  heathen 
divinity  3.    In  like  manner  old  heathen  myths  passed  over 
to  Christian  saints4,  some  of  which  even  in  their  later 
form  sound  heathenish  enough,  as  that  the  soul,  on  the 
first  night  of  its  separation,  comes  to  St.  Gertrud.     That 
in  the  period  immediately  following  the  conversion,  the 
heathen  worship  of  the  dead  was  mingled  with  the  Chris 
tian  adoration  of  saints,  we  have  already  seen  from  the 
foregoing ;  and  the  manner  in  which  Clovis  venerated  St. 
Martin,  shows  that  he  regarded  him  more  as  a  heathen 
god  than  as  a  Christian  saint.     It  will  excite  little  or  no 
surprise  that  the  scarcely  converted  king  of  the  Franks 
sent  to  the  tomb  of  the  saint,  as  to  an  oracle,  to  learn  the 

1  For  instances  see  vol.  iii.  pp.  162-169,  171,  176-179. 

2  Goth,  man  (pi.  munum,  pret.  munda),  /  think,  remember,  whence 
Ohg.  minna  =  minia,  amor  ;  minnon  =  minion,  amare,  to  remember  the 
beloved.     In  0.  Nor.  there  is  man,  munum,  and  also  minni,  memoria, 
minna,  recordari.     Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  52,  which  see  for  further  details. 

3  Instances  are  the  fires  kindled  on  St.  John's  day  and  the  usages  on 
St.  Martin's  day.     See  vol.  iii.  pp.  139,  142. 

4  A  striking  instance  of  this  is  the  second  Merseburg  poem  with  its 
several  parodies.     See  pp.  23,  sq. 


issue  of  a  war  he  had  commenced  against  the  Wisigoths  !, 
as  similar  transmutations  of  heathen  soothsaying  and 
drawing  of  lots  into  apparently  Christian  ceremonies  are 
to  be  found  elsewhere  2. 

We  will  now  add  two  instances,  one  of  which  will  show 
how  an  individual  mentioned  in  the  New  Testament  has 
so  passed  into  popular  tradition  as  to  completely  occupy 
the  place  of  a  heathen  goddess,  while  the  other  will  make 
it  evident  how  heathen  forms  of  worship  can,  through 
various  modifications,  gradually  assume  a  Christian  cha 

Herodias  is  by  Burchard  of  Worms3  compared  with 
Diana.  The  women  believed  that  they  made  long  journeys 
with  her,  on  various  animals,  during  the  hours  of  the 
night,  obeyed  her  as  a  mistress,  and  on  certain  nights  were 
summoned  to  her  service.  According  to  Ratherius,  bishop 
of  Verona  (ob.  974),  it  was  believed  that  a  third  part  of 
the  world  was  delivered  into  her  subjection  4.  The  author 
of  Reinardus  informs  us  that  she  loved  John  the  Baptist, 
but  that  her  father,  who  disapproved  of  her  love,  caused 
the  saint  to  be  beheaded.  The  afflicted  maiden  had  his 

1  Gregor,  Tur.  n.  37. 

2  Miiller,  p.  110.     Cone.  Autissiod.  a.  578,  c.  3.     "  Non  licet  ad  sor- 
tilegos  vel  ad  auguria  respicere ;  nee  ad  sortes,  quas  sanctorum  vocant, 
vel  quas  de  ligno  aut  de  pane  faciunt,  adspicere."     According  to  the  Lex 
Frisionura,  Tit.  14,  two  little  staves,  one  of  which  was  marked  with  a 
cross,  were  laid  on  the  altar  or  on  a  relic.     A  priest  or  an  innocent  boy 
took  up  one  of  them  with  prayer. 

3  10,  1.  (from  the  Cone.  Ancyran.  a.  314)  :  "  Illud  etiam  non  omitten- 
dum,  quod  quaedam  sceleratae   mulieres,   retro  post  Satanam  converse, 
dsemonum  illusionibus  et  phantasmatibus  seductx,  credunt  se  et  profi- 
tentur  nocturnis  horis  cum  Diana,  paganorum  dea,  vel  cum  Herodiade  et 
innumera  multitudine   mulierum   equitare    super    quasdam    bestias,   et 
multa  terrarum  spatia  intempestse  noctis  silentio  pertransire,  ejusque  jus- 
sionibus   velut  dominae  obedire,  et  certis  noctibus   ad   ejus  servitium 

4  Opera,  edit.  Ballerini,  p.  20.     D.  M.  p.  260. 


head  brought  to  her,  but  as  she  was  covering  it  with  tears 
and  kisses,  it  raised  itself  in  the  air  and  blew  the  damsel 
back,  so  that  from  that  time  she  hovers  in  the  air.  Only 
in  the  silent  hours  of  night  until  cockcrowing  has  she 
rest,  and  sits  then  on  oaks  and  hazels.  Her  sole  consola 
tion  is,  that,  under  the  name  of  Pharaildis,  a  third  part  of 
the  world  is  in  subjection  to  her  *. 

That  heathen  religious  usages  gradually  gave  rise  to 
Christian  superstitions  will  appear  from  the  following.  It 
was  a  custom  in  the  paganism  both  of  Rome  and  Ger 
many  to  carry  the  image  or  symbol  of  a  divinity  round  the 
fields,  in  order  to  render  them  fertile.  At  a  later  period  the 
image  of  a  saint  or  his  symbol  was  borne  about  with  the 
same  object 2.  Thus  in  the  Albthal,  according  to  popular 
belief,  the  carrying  about  of  St.  Magnus7  staff  drove  away 
the  field  mice.  In  the  Freiburg  territory  the  same  staff 
was  employed  to  extirpate  the  caterpillars  3. 

Of  all  the  divinities,  of  whom  mention  has  been  already 
made,  Wodan  alone  appears  to  have  survived  in  the  north 

Lenit  honor  luctum,  minuit  reverentia  poenam, 

Pars  hominum  mcestce  tertia  servit  fierce. 
Quercubus  et  coryhs  a  noctis  parte  secunda 

Usque  nigri  ad  galli  carmina  prima  sedet. 
Nunc  ea  nomen  habet  Pharaildis,  Herodias  ante 

Saltria,  nee  subiens  nee  subeunda  pari. 
Reinardus,  i.  1159-1164.     Muller,  p.  112  ;  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  262. 

2  Eccard,  Franc.  Orient,  i.  437. 

3  Muller,  p.  113.     Act.  Sanct.  ii.  p.  774.     "  In  agrum  Friburg,  quod 
est  in  Brisgoia  circumjectum,  aliquot  annis  adeo  copiosa  saeviterque  gras- 
sata  erant  insecta,  ut  vix  jam  herbas  quid  excresceret,  sed  omnia  veluti 
nimiis  solibus  torrida  ruberent.     Motus  diuturno  hoc  malo  urbis  ejus  ma- 
gistratus  enixe  petiit,  ut  adversus  diros  vermes  afferretur  sacra  cambatta. 
Quae  ubi  allata  est  a  quodam  S.  Magni  ccenobita,  eaque  campi  prataque 
ilia  lustrata,  eodem  adhuc  anno,  qui  seculi  hujus  fuit  xi  (1711),  tellus 
laeto  herbarum  vigore  convestiri ;  vermes  pars  migrare  alio,  pars  emori. 
Ut  tanti  beneficii  perennaret  memoria,  decreverere  Friburgenses  posthac 
natalem  S.  Magni  habere  sacrum  et  festum."  Comp.  Schreiber's  Taschen- 
buch  fiir  Geschichte  und  Alterthum  in  Siiddeutschland,  1839,  p.  329. 

N  5 


of  Germany.  From  the  following  customs  it  will  appear 
that  he  was  regarded  as  a  god,  in  whose  hand  rested  the 
thriving  of  the  fruits  of  the  field. 

In  Meklenburg  it  was  formerly  a  custom  at  the  rye- 
harvest  to  leave  at  the  end  of  every  field  a  little  strip  of 
grain  unmowed;  this  with  the  ears  the  reapers  plaited 
together  and  sprinkled  it.  They  then  walked  round  the 
bunch,  took  off  their  hats,  raised  their  sithes,  and  called 
on  Wodan  thrice  in  the  following  verses  : — 

Wode,  hale  dynem  rosse  nu  Wode,  fetch  now  fodder  for  thy 

voder,  horse, 

nu  distel  unde  dorn,  now  thistles  and  thorn, 

thorn  andren  jahr  beter  korn !  for  another  year  better  corn  ! 

The  corn  thus  left  standing  for  the  horse  of  the  god  was  a 
simple  offering  to  the  bestower  of  the  harvest.  At  the 
mansions  of  the  nobility  and  gentry,  it  was  a  custom,  when 
the  rye  was  cut,  to  give  Wodel-beer.  On  a  Wednesday 
people  avoided  all  work  in  flax  or  sowing  linseed,  lest  the 
horse  of  the  god,  who  with  his  dogs  was  often  heard  in  the 
fields,  might  tread  it  down  }. 

With  these  customs  a  custom  of  the  Mark  may  be  com 
pared.  In  the  neighbourhood  of  the  former  monastery  of 
Diesdorf,  during  the  whole  rye-harvest,  a  bundle  of  ears 
is  left  standing  in  every  field,  which  is  called  the  Vergo- 
dendeel's  Struus.  When  all  is  mowed,  the  people,  in  holy- 
day  attire,  proceed  to  the  field  with  music,  and  bind  this 
bundle  round  with  a  variegated  riband,  then  leap  over  it  and 
dance  round  it.  Lastly  the  principal  reaper  cuts  it  with 
his  sithe  and  throws  it  to  the  other  sheaves.  In  like  man 
ner  they  go  from  field  to  field,  and  finally  return  to  the 
village  singing :  "  Nun  danket  alle  Gott,"  and  then  from 
farm  to  farm,  at  each  of  which  some  harvest  lines  are  re 
peated^  The  name  of  this  harvest  festival  is  Vergodendeel, 

1  Muller,  p.  115. 


which  is  said  to  signify  remuneration  for  the  hard  harvest- 
work,  and  is  to  be  met  with  also  in  some  of  the  neighbour 
ing  villages.  From  among  the  several  harvest-verses  we 
select  the  following  :  — 

Ich  sage  einen  arndtekranz,  I  saw  a  harvest-garland, 

es  ist  aber  ein  Vergutentheils  but  it  is  a  Vergutentheil's  garland. 


Dieser    kranz    ist    nicht    von  This  garland  is  not  of  thistles  and 

disteln  und  dornen,  thorns, 

sondern  von  reinem  auserlese-  but  from  clean,  selected   winter- 

nem  winterkorne,  corn, 

es  sind  auch  viele  ahren  darin ;  there  are  also  many  ears  therein ; 

so  mannich  ahr,  so  many  ears, 

so  mannich  gut  jahr,  so  many  good  years, 

so  mannich  korn  so  many  corns, 

so   mannich   wispeln   auf    den  so  many  wispels l  for  the  master's 

wirth  seinen  born  (boden) 2.  granary. 

As  the  resemblance  between  this  custom  and  the  Mek- 
lenburg  one  is  obvious,  the  "  Vergodendeels  struus  "  may 
without  hesitation  be  explained  by  Fro  Goden  deels  struus, 
i.  e.  the  strauss  or  wisp,  which  Fro  (Lord)  Wodan  gets  for 
his  share3.  Hence  a  similar  harvest  custom  in  Lower 
Saxony,  at  which  Fru  Gaue  is  invoked,  may  likewise  refer 
to  Wodan.  When  the  reapers  mow  the  rye,  they  leave 
some  straws  standing,  twine  flowers  among  them,  and, 
after  the  completion  of  their  labour,  assemble  round  the 
wisp  thus  left  standing,  take  hold  of  the  ears  and  cry  :— 

Fru  Gaue,  haltet  ju  fauer,  Fru  Gaue,  hold  your  fodder, 

diit  jar  up  den  wagen,  this  year  on  the  wagon, 

dat  andar  jar  up  der  kare.  the  next  year  on  the  cart. 

It  will  excite  but  little  surprise  that  in  the  uncertainty  of 

1  A  wispel  =  24  bushels. 

2  Miiller,  p.  116.     Kuhn,  Mark.  Sagen,  p.  VI,  and  p.  339. 

3  We  must  here  bear  in  mind  the  dialectic  form  Gwodan  (Goden}.     On 
the  Elbe  Wodan  is  still  called  Fru  Wod.    Lisch,  Meklenb.  Jahrb.  2,  133. 


later  popular  tradition  this  appellation1  has  afterwards 
been  attributed  to  a  female  divinity. 

The  names  of  the  other  gods  have  passed  out  of  the 
memory  of  the  people.  Of  the  worship  of  Donar  (Thor) 
there  is,  perhaps,  still  a  faint  trace  in  the  custom,  that  in 
Meklenburg  the  country  people  formerly  thought  it  wrong 
to  perform  certain  work  on  a  Thursday,  as  hopping,  etc.2 

Of  the  goddesses,  Wodan's  wife,  Frigg,  was,  till  compa 
ratively  recent  times,  still  living  in  the  popular  traditions 
of  Lower  Saxony,  under  the  name  of  Fru  Frecke3,  but 
now  seems  defunct.  In  the  neighbourhood  of  Dent  in 
Yorkshire  the  country  people,  at  certain  seasons,  particu 
larly  in  autumn,  have  a  procession,  and  perform  old  dances, 
one  of  which  they  call  the  giants'  dance.  The  principal 
giant  they  call  Woden,  and  his  wife  Frigga.  The  chief 
feature  of  the  spectacle  is,  that  two  swords  are  swung 
round  the  neck  of  a  boy  and  struck  together  without 
hurting  him  4. 

But  in  the  popular  traditions  of  the  Germans  the  me 
mory  still  lives  of  several  female  divinities,  who  do  not 
appear  in  the  Northern  system.  Goddesses  can  longer 
maintain  themselves  in  the  people's  remembrance,  because 
they  have  an  importance  for  the  contracted  domestic  circle. 
But  their  character,  through  length  of  time  and  Chris 
tianity,  is  so  degraded,  that  they  usually  appear  more  as 
terrific,  spectral  beings  than  as  goddesses.  Whether  their 
names  even  are  correct,  or  have  sprung  out  of  mere 
secondary  names  or  epithets,  whether  several,  who  appear 

1  Goth.  Frauja,  dominus,  whence  the   modern   feminines   Fran,   Fru, 
domina,  lady.     The  masculine  is  no  longer  extant. 

2  Midler,  p.  116. 

3  Eccard  de  Orig.  Germ.  p.  398  :  "  Celebratur  in  plebe  Saxonica  Fru 
Frecke,  cui  eadem  rnunia  tribuuntur,  quae  Superiores  Saxones  Holdas  suae 

4  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  280,  from  a  communication  by  Kemble.     Miiller, 
p.  121. 



under  various  names,  were  not  originally  identical,  a  sup 
position  rendered  probable  by  a  striking  resemblance  in 
the  traditions,  can  no  longer  be  decided.  We  can  here 
only  simply  repeat  what  popular  tradition  relates  of 

FRAU  HOLDA,  or  Holle,  still  survives  in  Thuringian  and 
Hessian,  as  well  as  in  Markish  and  Frankish  tradition  and 
story.  The  name  of  this  goddess  signifies  either  the  kind 
(holde)  or  the  dark,  obscure'2.  She  is  represented  as  a  being 
that  directs  the  aerial  phenomena,  imparts  fruitfulness  to 
the  earth,  presides  over  rural  labours  and  spinning.  She 
appears  likewise  as  a  divinity  connected  with  water,  as  she 
dwells  in  wells  and  ponds,  and  particularly  in  the  '  Hol- 
lenteich '  (so  called  from  her)  in  the  Meissner.  From  her 
well  children  come,  and  women,  who  descend  into  it, 
become  healthy  and  fruitful.  But  she  also  takes  persons 
drowned  to  her,  and  is  so  far  a  goddess  of  the  nether 
world,  a  circumstance  that  is  alluded  to  in  the  tradition 
that  she  has  her  abode  in  mountains3,  in  which,  as  we 
shall  see,  the  souls  of  the  departed  dwell.  On  account  of 
these  manifold  and  important  functions,  Holda,  in  the 
time  of  heathenism,  must,  no  doubt,  have  been  a  divinity 
of  high  rank.  Other  traditions  concerning  her  are  more 
obscure  and  difficult  to  explain.  Burchard  of  Worms 
(p.  194a)  mentions,  as  a  popular  belief,  that  some  women 
believed  that  on  certain  nights  they  rode  with  her  on  all 
kinds  of  animals,  and  belonged  to  her  train,  according  to 
which  she  completely  occupies  the  place  of  Diana  and 
Herodias ;  and  it  is  still  a  popular  belief  in  Thuringia,  that 
the  witches  ride  with  the  Hoik  to  the  Horselberg,  and 

1  Miiller,  p.  121. 

2  The  word  is  connected  either  with  hold,  propitious,  kind,  O.  Nor. 
hollr,  or  with  0.  Nor.  hulda,  obscurity,  darkness.   D.  M.  p.  249. 

3  E.  g.  in  the  Horselherg  near  Eisenach.     See  p.  243. 


that,  like  Wodan,  she  leads  the  Wild  Host.    It  is  also  said 
that  she  has  bristling,  matted  hair. 

This  goddess  had  apparently  two  chief  festivals,  one  in 
the  twelve  nights  of  Christmas,  during  which  she  makes 
her  tour;  the  other  at  Shrovetide,  when  she  returns1. 

FRAU  BERCHTA  is  particularly  at  home  among  the 
Upper  German  races,  in  Austria,  Bavaria,  Swabia,  Alsace, 
Switzerland,  also  in  some  districts  of  Thuringia  and  Fran- 
conia.  She  is  even  more  degraded  in  popular  story  than 
Holda.  She  also  appears  in  the  twelve  nights  as  a  female 
with  shaggy  hair,  to  inspect  the  spinners,  when  fish  and 
porridge  (Brei)2  are  to  be  eaten  in  honour  of  her,  and  all 
the  distaffs  must  be  spun  off.  She  is  also  the  queen  of 
the  '  Heimchen '  (little  elementary  spirits),  who  by  water 
ing  the  fields  rendered  the  soil  fertile,  while  she  ploughed 
beneath  the  surface,  and  so  far  has  claims  to  the  character 
of  an  earth-goddess  and  promoter  of  the  fertility  of  the 
land3.  To  those  who  mend  her  chariot  she  gives  the  chips 
by  way  of  payment,  which  prove  to  be  gold4. 

Between  Berchta  and  Holle  there  is  unquestionably  a 
considerable  resemblance,  although  their  identity  is  ex 
tremely  doubtful,  as  they  apparently  belong  to  different 
German  races.  The  name  of  Berchta  (Berhta,  Perahta, 
Bertha)  signifies  resplendent,  shining,  with  which  the  Welsh 
substantive  berth,  perfection,  beauty,  and  the  adjective 
berth,  beautiful,  rich,  may  be  compared.  As  this  goddess 
appears  only  in  the  south  of  Germany,  it  is  a  question 
whether  she  did  not  pass  from  the  Kelts  to  the  German 

1  Miiller,  p.  122.     For  the  Norwegian  Huldra,  or  Hulla,  see  vol.  ii. 
pp.  2,  10,  15. 

2  Of  those  who  have  eaten  other  food  than  her  festival-dishes  she  rips 
open  the  bodies,  takes  out  the  forbidden  viands,  stuffs  them  with  chaff, 
and  sews  them  up  again  with  a  ploughshare  and  an  iron  chain.     Grimm 
D.  S.  No.  268  ;  Abergl.  No.  525. 

3  Muller,  p.  124.  4  Grimm,  D.  M.  p.  252. 



races.  We  will  not  decide  in  the  affirmative,  though  it  is 
worthy  of  remark  that  the  name  enters  also  into  French 
heroic  lore.  Bertha  with  the  great  foot,  or  with  the  goose's 
foot,  was,  according  to  tradition,  the  daughter  of  Flore  and 
Blancheflor,  the  wife  of  Pepin  and  mother  of  Charles  the 
Great.  In  France,  too,  the  phrase  the  time  when  Bertha 
span  is  used  to  express  days  long  since  gone  by.  It  was 
also  customary  to  swear  by  the  spinning-wheel  of  the  reine 
pedauque l . 

In  German  tradition  the  name  of  Berchta  is  given  to 
the  so-called  White  Lady,  who  appears  in  many  houses, 
when  a  member  of  the  family  is  about  to  die,  and,  as  we 
have  seen,  is  thought  to  be  the  ancestress  of  the  race.    She 
is  sometimes  seen  at  night  tending  and  nursing  the  chil 
dren,  in  which  character  she  resembles  the  Keltic  fairy. 
In  other  and  more  wide-spread  traditions,  the  White  Lady 
is  an  enchanted  or  spell-bound  damsel,  who  usually  every 
seventh  year  appears  near  some  mountain  or  castle,  points 
out  treasures,  and  awaits  her  release2.     Sometimes  she  is 
seen  combing  her  long  locks  or  drying  flax-knots.     Some 
pretend  that,  like  Huldra,  she  is  disfigured  by  a  tail.    She 
wears  a  white  robe,  or  is  clad  half  in  white  half  in  black ; 
her  feet  are  concealed  by  yellow  or  green  shoes.     In  her 
hand    she   usually  carries  a  bunch   of  keys,    sometimes 
flowers,    or    a  golden   spinning-wheel.     These  traditions 
evidently  point  to  a  goddess  that  possesses  influence  over 
life  and  death,  and  presides  over  domestic  economy;  al 
though  the  glimmering  shed  on  her  through  the  medium 

1  "Au  temps  que  la  reine  Berthe  filait;"  in  Italian,  "  n el  tempo  ove 
Berta  filava,"  or,  "  non  e  piu  il  tempo  che  Berta  filava."     Comp.  Alt- 
deutsche  Walder,  3,  47,  48.   Roman  de  Berte  as  Grans  Pies,  edit.  P.  Paris, 
pref.  pp.  in,  iv.     She  is  elsewhere  called  Frau  "  Precht  mit  der  langen 
nas."     See  Grimm,  D.  M.  pp.  250-260. 

2  She  is  also  called  Bertha.   See  in  Harrys,  i.  No.  3,  "  Die  schone  Bertha 
von  Schweckhauserberge." 


of  popular  tradition  does  not  enable  us  to  ascertain  more 
of  her  nature1. 

In  the  traditions  of  the  Altmark  there  lives  another 
goddess— FRAU  HARKE,  of  whom  it  is  related,  that  in  the 
twelve  nights  of  Christmas  she  passes  through  the  country, 
and  if  by  Twelfth-day  the  maids  have  not  spun  off  all  the 
flax,  she  either  scratches  them  or  befouls  the  spinning- 
wheel.  Stories  concerning  her  must  formerly  have  been 
more  numerous.  Gobelinus  Persona  relates,  that  Frau 
Hera  in  the  Twelfths  flies  through  the  air  and  bestows 
abundance2.  As  this  account  points  to  an  earth-goddess, 
there  seems  no  doubt  that  the  Erce3,  invoked  as  mother 
of  earth  in  an  Anglo- Saxon  spell  for  the  fertilizing  of  the 
land,  is  identical  with  her4. 

In  German  popular  story  other  names  are  mentioned  of 
female  beings,  but  who  are  enveloped  even  in  greater  ob 
scurity  than  the  before-mentioned.  The  WERRE,  who  is 
at  home  in  Voigtland,  inspects,  like  Frau  Holle,  the  spin 
ners  on  Christmas  eve,  and,  if  all  the  distaffs  are  not  spun 
off,  befouls  the  flax.  Like  Berchta,  she  rips  up  the  bodies 
of  those  who  have  not  eaten  porridge.  The  STEMPE 
tramples  on  those  children  who  on  New  Year's  day  will 
not  eat.  The  STRAGGELE  appears  in  Lucerne  the  Wed 
nesday  before  Christmas,  and  teazes  the  maids,  if  they 
have  not  spun  their  daily  task5.  WANME  THEKLA  is  in 

1  Miiller,  p.  126. 

2  Cosmodrom.  Act,  vi.  Meibom.  Scriptt.  Rer.  Germ.  i.  p.  235  -  -  Inter 
festum  Nativitatis  Christ!  ad  festum  Epiphani*  Domini,  domina  Hera 
volat  per  aera.     Dicebant  vulgares  pradicto  tempore:   Vrowe  Hera  seu 
corrupto  nomine   Vro  Here  de  vlughet,  et  credebant  illam  sibi  conferre 
rerum  temporalium  abundantiam." 

3  Thorpe,  Analecta  Anglo- Saxonica,  p.  116,  2nd  edit.     Grimm  D  M 
p.  cxxix.  Erce,  Erce,  Erce,         Erce,  Erce,  Erce, 

eorftan  modor,  etc.      mother  of  earth,  etc. 

4  Muller,  p.  127. 

5  Grimm,  D.  M.  pp.  251,  255  ;  D.  S.  269. 



the  Netherlands  the  queen  of  the  elves  and  witches1.  This 
tradition  is  probably  of  Keltic  origin,  which  may  likewise 
be  the  case  with  the  following  one.  DOMINA  ABUNDIA, 
or  DAME  HABONDE,  who  is  mentioned  by  Guilielmus  Al 
vernus,  bishop  of  Paris  (ob.  1248) 2,  and  who  also  figures 
in  the  Roman  de  la  Rose3,,  is  said,  on  certain  nights, 
accompanied  by  other  women,  who  are  likewise  styled 
Domina,  and  all  clad  in  white4,  to  enter  houses  and  par 
take  of  the  viands  placed  for  them.  Their  appearance  in 
a  house  is  a  sign  of  good  luck  and  prosperity.  In  these 
white-clad  females  we  at  once  recognise  the  Keltic  fairies. 
The  name  Habundia  has  no  connection  with  the  Latin 
abundantia,  from  which  Guilielmus  Alvernus  would  de 
rive  it5. 

Together  with  Habundia  Guilielmus  Alvernus  places 
SATIA,  whose  name  he  derives  from  satietas.  The  goddess 
BENSOZIA,  whom  Augerius  episcopus  Conseranus  mentions 
as  a  being  with  whom,  as  with  Herodias,  Diana  and  Holda, 
the  women  were  believed  to  ride  at  night,  may  be  identical 
with  her,  and  her  name  be  only  a  fuller  form  of  Satia6. 

The  foregoing  are  the  principal  memorials  of  heathen 
divinities  that  have  been  preserved  in  Christian  times. 
Together  with  them  we  find  traces  of  that  living  concep 
tion  of  nature,  which  is  perceptible  among  the  Germans 
from  the  remotest  period.  The  sun  and  moon  were  always 
regarded  as  personal  beings,  they  were  addressed  as  Frau 
and  Herr  (Domina  and  Dominus)7,  and  enjoyed  a  degree 
of  veneration  with  genuflexions  and  other  acts  of  adora 
tion8.  To  certain  animals,  as  cats,  the  idea  of  something 

i  See  vol.  iii.  p.  265.  2  Opera,  Paris,  1674,  i.  1036,  1066,  1068. 

3  Edit.  Meon,  vv.  18622,  sqq. 

4  Nymphse  albze,   domino  bonse,  dominje  nocturnae.     Wolf,  Niederl, 
Sagen,  No.  231. 

s  Miiller,  p.  129.  6  Ib.  p.  130.  7  See  page  5,  note  2. 

»  Vita  Eligii,  n.  16:  Nullus  dominos  solem  aut  lunam  vocet.  Nic. 
Magni  de  Gawe  de  Superstitionibus  (written  in  1415:  comp.  D.M. 


ghostly  and  magical  was  attached;  to  others,  as  the  cuckoo, 
was  ascribed  the  gift  of  prophecy ;  while  others,  as  snakes, 
had  influence  on  the  happiness  of  men,  or  are  accounted 
sacred  and  inviolable.  Trees,  also,  even  to  a  much  later 
period,  were  regarded  as  animated  beings,  on  which  account 
they  were  addressed  by  the  title  of  Frau ;  or  it  was  believed 
that  personal  beings  dwelt  in  them,  to  whom  a  certain 
reverence  was  due1. 

Of  processions  and  festivals,  which  have  pretensions  to 
a  heathen  origin,  we  can  give  only  a  brief  notice. 

As,  according  to  Tacitus,  the  goddess  Nerthus  was 
drawn  in  a  carriage  in  a  festive  procession,  through  the 
several  districts,  so  in  Christian  times,  particularly  during 
the  spring,  we  meet  with  customs,  a  leading  feature  of 
which  consists  of  a  tour  or  procession.  Such  festive  pro 
cessions  are  either  through  a  town,  or  a  village,  or  through 
several  localities,  or  round  the  fields  of  a  community,  or 
about  the  mark  or  boundary.  On  these  occasions  a  symbol 
was  frequently  carried  about,  either  an  animal  having 
reference  to  some  divinity,  or  else  some  utensil.  A  pro 
cession  may  here  be  cited  which,  in  the  year  1133,  took 
place  after  a  complete  heathenish  fashion,  notwithstanding 
the  strenuous  opposition  of  the  clergy.  In  the  forest  near 
In  da2,  a  ship  was  constructed,  and  furnished  beneath  with 
wheels;  this  was  drawn  by  weavers  (compelled  to  the 
task),  harnessed  before  it,  through  Aix-la-Chapelle,  Mae- 
stricht,  Tongres,  Looz  and  other  localities,  was  everywhere 
received  with  great  joy,  and  attended  by  a  multitude 

p.  xliv):  Itaque  hodie  inveniuntur  homines qui  cum  novilunium 

primo  viderint,  flexis  genibus  adorant,  vel  deposito  capucio  vel  pileo  in- 
clinato  capite  honorant  alloquendo  et  suscipiendo.  Immo  etiam  plures 
jejunant  ipso  die  novilunii.  See  also  D.  M.  p.  668,  and  Abergl.  No.  112  : 
"  If  a  woman  at  going  to  bed  salutes  the  stars  of  heaven,  neither  vulture 
nor  hawk  will  take  a  chicken  from  her." 

1  See  vol.  ii.  p.  168,  and  vol.  iii.  p.  182.     Miiller,  p.  130. 

2  Inden  in  the  territory  of  Julich,  afterwards  Cornelimunster. 


singing  and  dancing.  The  celebration  lasted  for  twelve 
days.  Whosoever,  excepting  the  weavers  who  drew  the 
ship — an  office  they  regarded  as  ignominious — touched 
the  same,  must  give  a  pledge,  or  otherwise  redeem  him 
self1.  This  custom  maintained  itself  to  a  much  later 
period  in  Germany,  as  by  a  protocol  of  the  council  of  Ulm, 
dated  on  the  eve  of  St.  Nicholas,  1330,  the  procession 
with  a  plough  or  a  ship  is  prohibited.  A  connection 
between  the  above  custom  and  the  worship  of  the  Isis  of 
Tacitus,  whose  symbol  was  a  ship,  seems  in  a  high  degree 
probable ;  it  had,  at  least,  reference  to  a  goddess,  as,  ac 
cording  to  the  original  narrative,  the  women  took  part  in 
it  with  bacchanalian  wantonness2. 

Mention  also  occurs  of  a  procession  with  a  plough,  about 
Shrovetide,  in  other  parts  of  Germany,  viz.  on  the  Rhine, 
in  Upper  Saxony  and  Franconia,  with  the  remarkable  ad 
dition,  that  young  unmarried  women  were  either  placed 
on  the  plough,  or  were  compelled  to  draw  it3. 

Another  procession,  called  The  driving,  or  carrying,  out  of 
Death  (winter),  took  place  formerly  about  Midlent,  usually 
on  the  Sunday  Latare  (the  fourth  in  Lent),  and  sometimes 
on  the  Sunday  Oculi  (the  third  in  Lent),  in  Franconia  and 
Thuringia,  also  in  Meissen,  Voigtland,  Lusatia  and  Silesia. 
Children  carried  a  figure  of  straw  or  wood,  or  a  doll  in  a 
box,  or  stuck  on  a  pole,  through  the  place,  singing  all  the 
time,  then  cast  the  figure  into  the  water  or  burnt  it.  In 
its  stead  a  fir-tree  was  brought  back  to  the  place.  If  the 
procession  met  any  cattle  on  their  return  they  beat  them 

1  See  a  circumstantial  account   of  this    custom  in   Grimm,    D.  M. 
pp.  237,  sqq. 

2  Miiller,  p.  133.     Rodolfi  Chron.  Abbatiaj  S.  Trudonis,  lib.  ix.     ' 
fugitiva  adhuc  luce  diei  imminente  lima,  matronarum  catervse  abjecto 
femineo  pudore  audientes  strepitum   hujus  vanitatis,  sparsis  capillis  de 
stratis  suis  exiliebant,  alia;  semiimdae,  alise  simplice  tantum  clamide  cir- 
cumdutse,  chorosque  ducentibus  circa  navim  impudenter  irrumpendo  se 
admiscebant."  3  M"ller>  P-  134' 


with  sticks,   believing  that  they  thereby  rendered  them 

In  other  places  the  beginning  of  the  beautiful  season  is 
represented  as  the  entrance  of  a  benignant  divinity  into 
the  country.  In  Thuringia,  on  the  third  day  of  Whitsun 
tide,  a  young  peasant,  called  the  green  man,  or  lettuce-king, 
is  in  the  forest  enveloped  in  green  boughs,  placed  on  a 
horse,  and  amid  rejoicings  conducted  into  the  village, 
where  all  the  people  are  assembled.  The  Schulze  (Bailiff 
or  Mayor)  must  then  guess  thrice  who  is  concealed  under 
the  green  covering.  If  he  does  not  guess,  he  must  forfeit 
a  quantity  of  beer;  and  even  if  he  does  guess,  he  must, 
nevertheless,  give  it.  Of  the  same  class  is  the  procession 
of  the  Maigraf  (Count  of  the  May),  (called  also  the  King 
of  the  May,  or  King  of  Flowers],  which  formerly,  usually 
on  the  first  of  May,  took  place  with  great  rejoicings,  not 
only  in  Lower  Germany,  but  in  Denmark2  and  Sweden. 
Attended  by  a  considerable  company,  and  adorned  with 
flowers  and  garlands,  the  Count  of  the  May  paraded 
through  the  several  districts,  where  he  was  received  by 
the  young  girls,  who  danced  round  him,  one  of  whom  he 
chose  for  Queen  of  the  May3. 

We  shall  conclude  this  sketch  of  the  festive  processions 
with  a  short  notice  of  some  other  heathen  customs. 

It  is  a  wide-spread  custom  in  Germany  to  kindle  bon 
fires  on  certain  days,  viz.  at  Easter  and  St.  John's  (Mid 
summer)  day,  less  usually  at  Christmas  and  Michaelmas. 
In  Lower  Germany  the  Easter-fires  are  the  most  usual, 
which  are  generally  lighted  on  hills;  while  in  the  south 
of  Germany  the  St.  John's  fires  are  the  commonest,  and 
were  formerly  kindled  in  the  market-places,  or  before  the 
gates  of  the  town.  The  ceremonies  connected  with  these 
fires  are  more  and  more  forgotten.  In  former  times  old 
and  young,  high  and  low  regarded  the  kindling  of  them 
1  Miiller,  p.  135.  2  See  vol>  iL  p  266.  3  Miiller,  p.  139. 


as  a  great  festival.  These  customs  had  apparently  an 
agrarian  object,  as  it  is  still  believed  that  so  far  as  the 
flame  of  the  Easter-fire  spreads  its  light  will  the  earth  be 
fertile  and  the  corn  thrive  for  that  year.  These  fires,  too, 
were,  according  to  the  old  belief,  beneficial  for  the  pre 
servation  of  life  and  health  to  those  who  came  in  contact 
with  the  flame.  On  which  account  the  people  danced 
round  the  St.  John's  fire,  or  sprang  over  it,  and  drove 
their  domestic  animals  through  it.  The  coal  and  ashes  of 
the  Easter-fire  were  carefully  collected  and  preserved  as  a 
remedy  for  diseases  of  the  cattle.  For  a  similar  reason  it 
was  a  custom  to  drive  the  cattle  when  sick  over  particular 
fires  called  need-fires  (Notfeuer),  which,  with  certain  cere 
monies,  were  kindled  by  friction1;  on  which  account  the 
St.  John's  fire  is  strictly  to  be  regarded  as  a  need-fire 
kindled  at  a  fixed  period.  Fire  is  the  sacred,  purifying  and 
propitiating  element,  which  takes  away  all  imperfections2. 
A  similar  salutiferous  power  is,  according  to  the  still  ex 
isting  popular  belief,  possessed  by  water,  particularly  when 

1  Indie.  Superst.  c.  15.   De  igne  fricato  de  ligno. 

2  Miiller,  p.  141.     For  details  relating  to  these  fires  see  Grimm,  D.M. 
pp.  570-594.     Particularly  worthy  of  notice  is  the  employment  of  a  cart 
wheel,  by  the  turning  of  which  the  need-fire  is  kindled.     In  some  places, 
at  the  Easter-fire,  a  burning  wheel  is  rolled  down  a  hill.     In  the  Mark  a 
cart-wheel  is  set  on  fire  and  danced  round.     A  wheel,  too,  is  hung  over 
the  doors  of  the  houses  for  the  thriving  of  the  cattle.     Mark.  Sagen, 
p.  362.    Comp.  Grimm,  D.  M.  1st  edit.  Abergl.  "No.  307  :  "Whoever  puts 
a  wheel  over  his  doorway  has  luck  in  his  house."    This  custom  of  kindling 
sacred  fires  on  certain  days  prevails  throughout  almost  the  whole  of 
Europe,  and  was  known  to  Antiquity,  particularly  in  Italy.     The  Kelts 
kindled  such  fires,  on  the  first  of  May,  to  the  god  Deal  (thence  even  now 
called  beaUine),  and  on  the  first  of  November  to  the  god  Sighe.     Leo, 
Malb.  Gl.  i.  33.     But  whether  the  need-fire  is  of  Keltic  origin  remains  a 
doubt.     "  The  fires  lighted  by  the  [Scottish]  Highlanders  on  the  first  of 
May,  in  compliance  with  a  custom  derived  from  the  pagan  times,  are 
termed  the  Beltane-Tree,     It  is  a  festival  celebrated  with  various  super 
stitious  rites,  both  in  the  north  of  Scotland  and  in  Wales."     Scott's  Min 
strelsy,  iii.  p.  324. 


drawn  in  silence  on  certain  holyday  nights,  as  St.  John's 
or  Christmas,  from  certain  springs  that  were  formerly 
sacred  to  some  divinity.  To  wash  in  such  water  imparts 
health  and  beauty  for  the  whole  year  l. 

On  Death,  and  the  condition  of  souls  after  death,  a 
few  words  are  necessary.  Even  in  Christian  ideas  of 
hell,  the  remains  of  pagan  belief  are  here  and  there  dis 
cernible.  Among  these  may  be  reckoned  that  the  devil 
has  his  habitation  in  the  north  2,  as  in  the  Scandinavian 
belief  the  nether  world  lies  in  the  north.  According  to 
some  traditions,  the  entrance  to  hell  leads,  through  long, 
subterranean  passages,  to  a  gate ;  in  the  innermost  space 
lies  the  devil  fast  bound,  as  Utgarthilocus  is  chained  in 
the  lower  world3.  According  to  another  tradition,  the 
emperor  Charles,  when  conducted  to  hell  by  an  angel, 
passed  through  deep  dells  full  of  fiery  springs,  as,  accord 
ing  to  the  Scandinavian  belief,  the  way  to  Hel's  abode  led 
through  deep  valleys,  in  the  midst  of  which  is  the  spring 
Hvergelmir  4.  The  popular  tales  also  relate  how  a  water 
must  be  passed  before  arriving  at  Hell  5. 

According  to  all  appearance,  the  idea  was  very  general 
in  the  popular  belief  of  Scandinavia,  that  the  souls  of  the 
departed  dwelt  in  the  interior  of  mountains.  This  idea 
at  least  very  frequently  presents  itself  in  the  Icelandic 
Sagas,  and  must  have  been  wide-spread,  as  it  is  retained 
even  in  Germany  to  the  present  day.  Of  some  German 
mountains  it  is  believed  that  they  are  the  abodes  of  the 
damned.  One  of  these  is  the  Horselberg  near  Eisenach, 
which  is  the  habitation  of  Frau  Holle  ;  another  is  the 
fabulous  Venusberg,  in  which  the  Tanhauser  sojourns, 
and  before  which  the  trusty  Eckhart  sits  as  a  warning 

1  Miiller,  p.  143.  2  Caedmon,  p.  3. 1.  8. 

3  Saxo,  p.  431,  edit.  Miiller.  •»  See  pp.  12,  13. 

5  Grimm,  K.  and  H.  M.  No.  29.    Miiller,  p.  389. 


guardian  l.  Of  other  mountains  it  is  also  related  that 
heroes  of  ancient  times  have  been  carried  into  them. 
Thus  the  emperor  Frederic  Barbarossa  sits  in  the  Kyf- 
hauser  at  a  stone  table ;  his  beard  has  already  grown  twice 
round  the  table ;  when  it  has  grown  thrice  round  he  will 
awake2.  The  emperor  Charles  sits  in  the  Odenberg,  or 
in  the  Unterberg 3,  and  an  emperor  not  named,  in  the 
Guckenberg  near  Frankishgemiinden  4. 

Almost  all  the  descriptions  of  the  sojourn  of  souls  after 
death  have  this  in  common,  that  the  nether  world  was 
thought  to  be  in  the  bowels  of  the  earth,  that  is,  in  the 
interior  of  mountains  or  at  the  bottom  of  waters,  and  that 
its  aspect  was  that  of  a  spacious  habitation,  in  which  a 
divine  being  received  the  departed.  That  it  was,  at  the 
same  time,  also  a  belief  that  the  dead  in  their  graves,  in  a 
certain  manner,  continued  to  live,  that  they  were  contented 
or  sad,  and  heard  the  voices  of  those  who  called — a  sub 
ject  to  which  we  shall  presently  return — is  strictly  in 
contradiction  to  the  other  ideas;  but,  in  the  first  place, 
heathenism  easily  tolerated  such  inconsistencies,  and, 
secondly,  the  depth  of  the  grave  became  confounded  with 
the  nether  world  in  the  bowels  of  the  earth.  Thus  while, 

1  The  relationship  of  the  traditions  of  Frau  Venus  and  Holda  is  indu 
bitable.     The  Venusberg  is  considered  by  some   as  identical  with  the 
Horselberg,  in  which  Frau  Holle  holds  her  court.     Before  the  Venusberg 

according  to  the  preface  to  the  Heldenbuch — sits  the  trusty  Eckhard, 

and  warns  people;  as  he  also  rides  and  warns  before  the  Wild  Hunt. 
Grimm,  D.  S.  No.  7.    The  tradition  of  the  Venusberg  first  appears  in 
monuments  of  the  fourteenth  century. 

2  Grimm,  D.  S.  Nos.  23, 296.     Comp.  Bechstein,  Thiir.  Sagenschatz,  4, 
9-54.     See  also  vol.  iii.  pp.  101,  sq.     According  to  another  tradition,  the 
emperor  Frederic  sits  in  a  rocky  cavern  near  Kaiserslautern. 

3  Grimm,  D.  S.  Nos.  26,  28.     Mones  Anzeiger,  4.  409.     Of  Wedekind 
also  it  is  said  that  he  sits  in  a  mountain,  called  Die  Babilonie,  in  West 
phalia,  until  his  time  comes.     Redecker,  Westf.  Sagen,  No,  21.     Similar 
traditions  are  in  D.  S.  Nos.  106,  207,  and  in  Mones  Anzeiger,  5,  174. 

4  Miiller,  p.  396. 



on  the  one  hand,  it  was  thought  that  the  dead  preserved 
their  old  bodily  aspect,  and  appeared  just  as  when  they 
sojourned  on  earth,  although  the  freshness  of  life  had  de 
parted  ;  on  the  other  hand  there  is  no  lack  of  passages, 
according  to  which  a  particular  form  is  ascribed  to  the 
soul  when  separated  from  its  body l. 

As  mountains,  according  to  the  heathen  popular  belief, 
were  supposed  to  be  the  sojourns  of  the  dead,  so  it  was 
imagined  that  in  the  bottom  of  wells  and  ponds  there  was 
a  place  for  the  reception  of  departed  souls.     But  this  be 
lief  had  special  reference  to  the  souls  of  the  drowned,  who 
came  to  the  dwelling  of  the  Nix,  or  of  the  sea-goddess 
Ran.     The  depths  of  the  water  were,  however,  at  the  same 
time,  conceived  in  a  more  general  sense,  as  the  nether 
world  itself.     For  which  reasons  persons  who  otherwise, 
according  to  the  popular  traditions,  are  conveyed  away 
into  mountains,  are  also  supposed  to  be  dwelling  in  wells 
and  ponds  2 ;  and  the  numerous  tales  current  throughout 
the  whole  of  Germany  of  towns  and  castles  that  have  been 
sunk  in  the  water,  and  are  sometimes  to  be  discerned  at 
the  bottom,  are  probably  connected  with  this  idea.     It  is 
particularly  worthy  of  notice  that  beautiful  gardens  have 
been  imagined  to  exist  under  the  water  3.    Yet  more  wide 
spread  is  the  tradition  that  green  meadows  exist  under 
water,  in  which  souls  have  their  abode  4.     In  an  old  Ger 
man  poem  it  is  said  that  these  meadows  are  closed  against 
suicides  5,  according  to  which  they  would  appear  to  be  a 
detached  portion  of  the  nether  world  6. 

1  Muller,  p.  401. 

2  Thus  the  emperor  Charles  is  said  to  sojourn  in  a  well  at  Nuremberg 
D.  S.  No.  22. 

3  Thus  Frau  Holla  has  a  garden  under  her  pool  or  well,  from  which  she 
distributes  all  kinds  of  fruits.     L).  S.  No.  4.     Comp.  13,  291,  and  K  and 
H.  M.  No.  24. 

4  Grimm,  K.  and  H.  M.  No.  61.     Wolf,  Niederl.  Sagen,  No.  506. 

5  Flore,  19b.  e  Muller,  p.  399. 


The  soul  was  supposed  to  bear  the  form  of  a  bird.  Even 
in  Ssemund's  Edda  it  is  said,  that  in  the  nether  world 
singed  birds  fly  that  had  been  souls  l,  and  in  the  popular 
tales  similar  ideas  occur  frequently.  The  ghost  of  the 
murdered  mother  comes  swimming  in  the  form  of  a  duck, 
or  the  soul  sits  in  the  form  of  a  bird  on  the  grave ;  the 
young  murdered  brother  mounts  up  as  a  little  bird,  and 
the  girl,  when  thrown  into  the  water,  rises  in  the  air  as  a 
white  duck2.  The  frequent  conjurations  into  swans, 
doves  and  ravens 3  originate  in  the  same  ideas  :  these 
birds  are  the  souls  of  the  murdered,  a  belief  which  the 
popular  tale  ingeniously  softening,  represents  merely  as  a 
transformation.  With  this  belief  the  superstition  must 
be  placed  in  connection,  that,  when  a  person  dies,  the 
windows  should  be  opened,  that  the  departing  soul  may 
fly  out  4. 

From  the  popular  traditions  we  also  learn  that  the  soul 
has  the  form  of  a  snake.  It  is  related  that  out  of  the 
mouth  of  a  sleeping  person  a  snake  creeps  and  goes  a  long 
distance,  and  that  what  it  sees  or  suffers  on  its  way,  the 
sleeper  dreams  of5.  If  it  is  prevented  from  returning,  the 

1  Fra  bvi  er  at  segja,  Of  that  is  to  be  told, 

hvat  ek  fyrst  um  sa,  what  I  first  observed, 

)>a  ek  var  £  kvolheima  kominn  :       wben  I  had  come  into  the  land  of 

torment : 

svtfSnir  fuglar,  singed  birds, 

er  salir  yam,  that  had  been  souls, 

flugu  sva  margir  sem  my.  flew  as  many  as  gnats. 

SolarljoS  Str.  53. 

It  is  however  to  be  remarked  that  the  Solarljdft  is  a  Christian  poem, 
though  composed  at  a  period  when  heathenism  still  prevailed  in  the  North. 
•  Grimm,  K.  and  H.  M.  Nos.  11,  13,  21,  47,  96,  135. 

3  Ib.  Nos.  9,  25,  49,  93,  123,  pp.  103,  221. 

4  Miiller,  p.  402  ;  Grimm,  D.  M.  1st  edit.  Abergl.  Nos.  191,  664  •  Kuhn 
Mark.  Sagen,  p.  367. 

5  When  the  grave  of  Charles  Martel  was  opened,  a  large  snake  was 
found  in  it;  such  at  least  is  the  story,  which,  moreover,  tells  us  that 


person  dies.  According  to  other  traditions  and  tales,  it 
would  seem  that  the  soul  was  thought  to  have  the  form 
of  a  flower,  as  a  lily  or  a  white  rose 1. 

These  ideas  may  be  regarded  as  the  relics  of  a  belief  in 
the  transmigration  of  souls,  according  to  which  the  soul, 
after  its  separation  from  the  body,  passes  into  that  of  an 
animal,  or  even  an  inanimate  object.  More  symbolic  is 
the  belief  that  the  soul  appears  as  a  light.  Hence  the 
popular  superstition  that  the  ignes  fatui,  which  appear  by 
night  in  swampy  places,  are  the  souls  of  the  dead.  Men, 
who  during  life  have  fraudulently  removed  landmarks, 
must,  after  death,  wander  about  as  ignes  fatuij  or  in  a 
fiery  form  2. 

having  exhausted  his  treasures,  he  gave  the  tenth,  which  was  the  due  of 
the  clergy,  to  his  knights  to  enable  them  to  live.  The  story  of  the  snake 
was  told  by  St.  Eucherius,  bishop  of  Orleans.  See  Wolf,  Niederl.  Sagen, 
No.  68.  Other  traditions  tell  that  the  soul  proceeds  from  the  mouth  of  a 
sleeping  person  in  the  form  of  a  butterfly,  a  weasel  or  mouse.  D.  S. 
Nos.  247,  255  ;  D.  M.  pp.  789,  1036.  Goethe  alludes  to  a  similar  super 
stition  in  Faust : 

Ach !  mitten  im  Gesange  sprang        Ah  !  in  the  midst  of  her  song 
Bin  rothes   Mauschen  ihr  aus        A  red  mousekin  sprang  out  of  her 
dem  Munde.  mouth. 

1  See  vol.  iii.  p.  271.     Grimm,  K.  and  H.  M.  Nos.  9,  85.     The  popular 
tales  tell  also  of  persons  transformed  into  lilies  or  other  flowers.     K.  and 
H.  M.  Nos.  56,  76.     On  the  chair  of  those  that  will  soon  die  a  white  rose 
or  lily  appears.     D.  S.  Nos.  263,  264  ;  Harrys,  i.  p.  76.    From  the  grave 
of  one  unjustly  executed  white  lilies  spring  as  a  token  of  his  innocence  ; 
from  that  of  a  maiden,  three  lilies,  which  no  one  save  her  lover  may  gather ; 
from  the  mounds  of  lovers  flowery  shrubs  spring,  which  entwine  together. 
Also  in  the  Swedish  ballads  lilies  and  limes  grow  out  of  graves.     In  the 
Scottish  ballad  of  Fair  Margaret  and  Sweet  William  it  is  said  :— 

Out  of  her  breast  there  sprang  a  rose, 

And  out  of  his  a  Iriar ; 

They  grew  till  they  grew  unto  the  church-top, 

And  there  they  tied  in  a  true  lovers'  knot. 

See  also  the  story  of  Axel  and  Valdborg  in  vol.  ii.  p.  46,  where  the  trees 
are  the  ash. 

2  Muller,  p.  404.    See  instances  of  this  superstition  in  vols.  ii.  and  iii. 


According  to  a  well-known  popular  tale,  there  is  a  sub 
terranean  cavern,  in  which  innumerable  lights  burn :  these 
are  the  life-tapers  of  mortals.  When  a  light  is  burnt  out, 
the  life  of  the  person  to  whom  it  belonged  is  at  an  end, 
and  he  is  the  property  of  Death l. 

How  do  the  souls  of  the  departed  arrive  at  their  des 
tined  abode  ?  German  tradition  assigns  the  office  of  re 
ceiving  the  souls  of  mortals  at  their  death  to  dwarfs. 
Middle  High  German  poems,  and  also  the  belief  still 
existing  among  the  people,  regard  Death  as  a  person, 
under  various  names,  who  when  their  hour  arrives,  con 
ducts  mortals  away  by  the  hand,  on  a  level  road,  dances 
with  them 2,  sets  them  on  his  horse,  receives  them  in  his 
train,  invites  them  to  his  dwelling,  lays  them  in  chains,  or 
— which  is  probably  a  later  idea — fights  with  them,  and 
with  spear,  dart,  sword  or  sithe,  slays  them  3. 

In  some  parts  of  Germany  it  is  a  custom  to  place  a 
piece  of  money  in  the  mouth  of  a  corpse4,  probably  to 
pay  the  passage-money,  or  defray  the  expenses  of  the 
journey  5. 

As  the  dead  in  the  nether  world  continue  their  former 
course  of  life  6,  it  naturally  follows  that  they  are  not 

1  See  K.  and  H.  M.  No.  44.     Muller,  p.  404.     The  same  idea  is  con 
tained  in  the  popular  superstitions.  On  Christmas  eve  the  light  may  not  be 
extinguished,  else  some  one  will  die.     Grinim,  A^ergl.  Nos.  421,  468.     In 
the  Albthal,  on  a  wedding-day,  during  the  service,  a  triple  twisted  taper 
is  borne  by  each  of  the  bridal  party :  the  person  whose  taper  is  first 
burnt  out  will  be  the  first  to  die.     Schreiber's  Taschenbuch,  1839,  p.  325. 

2  According  to  the  preface  to  the  Heldenbuch,  a  dwarf  fetches  Dietrich 
of  Bern  with  the  words :  "  Thou  shalt  go  with  me,  thy  kingdom  is  no  more 
in  this  world."    According  to  Christian  ideas,  angels  or  devils  receive  the 
departed  souls,  an  office  particularly  assigned  to  Michael. 

3  The  dance  of  death  cannot,  however,  be  traced  farther  back  than  the 
fifteenth  century.     Muller,  p.  405. 

4  Grimm,  D.  M.  1st  edit.  Abergl.  No.  207.     Mark.  Sagen,  Nos.  19,  30. 

5  Muller,  p.  408. 

6  Many  of  the  German  popular  stories  make  the  dead  to  appear  as  they 

O  2 


wholly  estranged  from  earthly  life.  No  oblivious  draught 
has  been  given  them,  but  the  remembrance  of  their  earthly 
doings  cleaves  to  them.  Hence  they  gladly  see  again  the 
places  frequented  by  them  while  on  earth  •  but  they  are  par 
ticularly  disquieted  when  anything  still  attaches  them  to 
earthly  life.  A  buried  treasure  allows  them  no  rest  until 
it  is  raised  T ;  an  unfinished  work,  an  unfulfilled  promise 
forces  them  back  to  the  upper  world  2. 

In  like  manner  the  dead  attach  themselves  to  their 
kindred  and  friends.  Hence  the  belief  is  very  general 
that  they  will  return  to  their  home  and  visit  them,  and 
that  they  sympathize  with  their  lot 3.  Thus  a  mother  re 
turns  to  the  upper  world  to  tend  her  forsaken  children  4, 
or  children  at  their  parents'  grave  find  aid,  who,  as  higher 
powers,  grant  them  what  they  wish  5.  Slain  warriors  also 
rise  again  to  help  their  comrades  to  victory  6%.  But  it  dis 
turbs  the  repose  of  the  dead  when  they  are  too  much  wept 

were  in  life  and  to  follow  the  same  pursuits.  In  ruined  castles,  knights 
in  their  ancient  costume  hold  tournaments  and  sit  at  the  joyous  feast ;  the 
priest  reads  mass,  the  wild  huntsman  and  the  robber  continue  their  handi 
work  after  death.  D.  S.  Nos.  527,  828  ;  Niederl.  Sagen,  Nos.  422,  424, 
425  ;  Mones  Anzeiger,  4.  307  ;  Harrys,  i.  No.  51  et  alibi. 

1  Grimm,  Abergl.  No.  606,  comp.  207,  588. 

2  Miiller,  p.  410. 

3  In  the  neighbourhood  of  Courtrai  it  is  a  custom,  when  conveying  a 
corpse  to  the  churchyard,  to  repeat  a  Pater  noster  at  every  crossway,  that 
the  dead,  when  he  wishes  to  return  home,  may  be  able  to  find  the  way. 
Niederl.  Sagen,  No.  317.     The  dead  usually  re-appear  on  the  ninth  day. 
Grimm,  Abergl.  No.  856.     According  to  the  Eyrb.  Saga,  c.  54,  the  dead 
come  to  their  funeral  feast. 

4  For  a  mother  that  has  died  in  childbirth  the  bed  is  to  be  made  during 
six  weeks,  that  she  may  lie  in  it  when  she  comes  to  give  her  child  the 
breast.     Niederl.  Sagen,  No.  326. 

5  Grimm,  K.  and  H.  M.  No.  21.     Comp.  Hervarar  Saga  and  Udvalgte 
Danske  Viser,  i.  p.  253. 

6  Grimm,  D.  S.  No.  327.     Comp.  Wunderhorn,  i.  73,  74.     The  dead 
also  wreak  vengeance.     Niederl.  Sagen,  No.  312.     It  is  an  old  belief  that 
if  a  person  is  murdered  on  Allhallows'  day,  he  can  have  no  rest  in  the 
grave  until  he  has  taken  revenge' on  his  murderer.     Ib.  No.  323, 


for  and  mourned  after.  Every  tear  falls  into  their  coffin 
and  torments  them ;  in  which  case  they  will  rise  up  and 
implore  those  they  have  left  behind  to  cease  their  lamen 
tation  1. 

1  Miiller,  p.  412.     Grimm,  K.  and  H.  M.  No.  109.     This  belief  is  feel 
ingly  expressed  in  the  old  Danish  ballad  of  Aage  and  Else  : — 

Hver  en  Gang  Du  glaedes,  Every  time  thou  'rt  joyful, 

Og  i  Din  Hu  er  glad,  And  in  thy  mind  art  glad, 

Da  er  min  Grav  forinden  Then  is  my  grave  within 

Omhaengt  med  Rosens  Blad.  Hung  round  with  roses'  leaves. 

Hver  Gang  Du  Dig  graminer,  Every  time  thou  grievest, 

Og  i  Din  Hu  er  mod,  And  in  thy  mind  art  sad, 

Da  er  min  Kiste  forinden  Then  is  within  my  coffin 

Som  fuld  med  levret  Blod.  As  if  full  of  clotted  blood. 

Udvalgte  Danske  Viser,  i.  p.  211. 



See  Oegir. 

^Eitri.     See  Sindri. 

^Emilias,  a  smith,  88. 

^Esir,  preside  over  Asgard,  11  ;  ride 
over  Bifrost,  12 ;  make  war  with 
the  Vanir,  14 ;  make  peace  with 
them,  ib. 

Agnar.son  of  Hrodung,  account  of,  17. 

Aki  murders  Heimir,  111. 

Alf  marries  Hiordis,  94. 

Alfar.     See  Elves. 

Alfheim,  Frey's  abode,  25,  130,  152. 

Alfheim,  a  district  of  Norway,  123. 

Alf  rig,  a  dwarf,  32,  n.  3. 

Alfo-Sr.     See  All-father  and  Odin. 

All,  son  of  Loki.     See  Vali. 

All-father,  among  the  Frost-giants,  4  ; 
pledges  his  eye  to  Mimir,  12  ;  myth 
of,  explained,  140.  See  Odin. 

Alsvith,  a  horse  of  the  Sun,  6,  144. 

Alswith,  son  of  Heimir,  98. 

Alvit,  wife  of  Volund,  85. 

Amsvartriir,  a  lake,  51,  184. 

Anar,  a  husband  of  Night,  5,  143. 

Andhrimnir,  the  cook  in  Valhall,  20. 

Andlang,  11,  152. 

Andvari,  a  dwarf,  his  treasure  and 
ring  taken  by  Loki,  95  ;  his  ring 
given  by  Sigurd  to  Bryuhild,  99, 

Angeia,  a  mother  of  Heimdall,  28. 
Angurboda,  31 ;    her   offspring,  49  ; 

her  name  explained,  184. 
Arvakur,  a  horse  of  the  Sun,  6,  144. 
Asa-Loki.     See  Loki. 
Asbru.     See  Bifrost. 
Asgard,  description  of,  11. 
Ask,  the  first  man,  10. 
Aslaug  or  Kraka,  Sigurd  and  Bryn- 

hild's    daughter,    101 ;    saved  by 

Heimir,  111 ;  married  to  Ragnar, 


Atla,  a  mother  of  Heimdall,  28. 
Atli   (Attila),   brother  of   Brynhild, 

100;   marries  Gudrun,  103,  104; 

invites  the  Giukings,  104  ;  murders 

them,  105  ;  murdered,  106. 
And,  the  son  of  Night,  5,  143. 
Audhumla,  4,  140. 
Auku-Thor,  a  name  of  Thor,  22, 173. 
Aurboda,  a  giantess,  mother  of  Gerd, 

46,  198. 

Aurgelmir,  3,  4,  140.     See  Ymir. 
Aurgiafa,  a  mother  of  Heimdall,  28. 
Aurvangur,  9. 
Austri,  5,  151. 


Baldur,  Odin's  son,  22;  his  beauty, 
and  plants  named  after  him,  22  and 
note  " ;  his  abode,  23 ;  account  of 
his  death  and  funeral,  72-74  ;  sends 
the  ring  Draupnir  to  Odin,  76; 


IN  DE  X. 

will  return,  83,  84  ;  myth  of,  ex 
plained,  185,  186. 

Barri,  wood  of,  49,  198. 

Baugi,  a  giant,  brother  of  Suttung, 
42;  his  name  explained,  192. 

Bekhild,  Brynhild's  sister,  98. 

Beli,  slain  by  Frey,  25,  49. 

Bergelmir,  4,  140. 

Berling,  a  dwarf,  32  n.  3. 

Bestla  (Belsta),  4,  141. 

Beyggvir,  Frey's  servant,  27,  198. 

Beyla,  Frey's  servant,  27,  198. 

Biflidi,  a  name  of  Odin,  15,  note5. 

Bifrdst,  the  rainbow,  11  ;  the  JEsir 
ride  over  it,  12  ;  will  break,  81 ; 
explanation  of,  201. 

Biki,  his  treachery,  107. 

Bil,  a  child  in  the  moon,  6  ;  reckoned 
among  the  goddesses,  36. 

Bilskirnir,  Thor's  mansion,  described, 
21,  172. 

Blakulla,  theSwedishBlocksberg,21 8. 

Blikianda-bol,  Hel's  curtains,  50. 

Bo  (Bous)  Odin's  son  by  Rinda,  170. 

Bodn,  name  of  a  vessel,  40,  192. 

Borghild,  mother  of  Helgi  Hundings- 
bani,  93  ;  poisons  Sinfiotli,  94. 

Bodvildi,  daughter  of  Nidud,  86. 

Bolthorn,  a  giant,  4,  141. 

Bolverk,  a  name  assumed  by  Odin,  42. 

Bor,  father  of  Odin,  4,  141. 

Bragafull  (Bragi-cup),  190. 

Bragi,  account  of,  28,  189,  190. 

Bredi,  a  thrall,  91. 

Breidablik,  Baldur's  abode,  23,  130, 

Brirair,  a  hall  in  heaven,  82. 

Brisinga-men,  32  ;  lent  by  Freyia  to 
Loki,  55. 

Brock,  a  dwarf,  38,  sqq.,  182. 

Brunnakr,  Idun's  abode,  34,  191. 

Brynhild,  account  of,  97  ;  instructs 
Sigurd,  ib. ;  engages  to  marry  Si 
gurd,  99 ;  foretells  Gudrun's  des 
tiny,  ib. ;  married  to  Gunnar,  100, 
101  ;  quarrels  with  Gudrun,  ib. ; 
her  death  and  funeral,  103. 

Budli,  father  of  Atli  and  Bryuhild, 
100,  101. 

Buri,  grandfather  of  Odin,  4,  141. 

Byleist,  brother  of  Loki,  30;  his 
name  explained,  182. 

Byrgir,  name  of  a  well,  6. 


Caul,  superstition  connected  with 

Creation,  4  ;  illustration  of,  138. 


Dagr,  day,  birth  of,  5,  6  ;  his  horse, 
Dain,  a  dwarf,  33. 
Dain,  a  hart,  13,  151,  155. 
Dark-elves  (Dockalfar).     See  Elves 
Darrad,  spectacle  seen  by  him,  156 
Delling,  the  husband  of  Night,  6. 
Dis,  an  attendant  spirit,  113,  116. 
Disa  and  Disa-blot,  209. 
Draug,  a  spectre,  113,  117. 
Draupnir,   a  ring,  38,  39  ;  laid 

Baldur's  pile,  75. 
Dromi,  name  of  a  chain,  50,  184. 
Drb'sul,  the  horse  of  Day,  6. 
Dunneyr,  a  hart,  13,  155. 
Durathror,  a  hart,  13,  155. 
Durin,  a  dwarf,  9,  150. 
Dvalin,  a  dwarf,  12,  32  w.3,  150,  If 
Dvalin,  a  hart,  13,  155. 
Dwarfs,  their  creation,  9  ;  myth 

explained,  144,  150. 


Earth,  the  daughter  of  Night  a 
Anar,  6  ;  description  of,  10  ;  rec 
oned  a  goddess,  36. 

Eddas,  account  of,  132,  and  note. 

Egdir,  an  eagle,  78. 

Egil  Skallagrirasson,  sets  up  a  nil 
stake,  219. 

Egil,  Volund's  brother,  84 ;  his  f< 
of  archery,  89. 

Eikthyrnir,  name  of  a  hart,  20,  2 
the  name  explained,  162. 

Einheriar,  the  slain  in  battle,  receiv 
into  Valhall  and  Vingolf,  15  ;  th 
employment,  20 ;  will  go  foi 
armed  at  Ragnarock,  81. 

Eir,  the  best  leech,  35. 

Eldhrimnir,  the  kettle  in  Valhall,  '. 

Eldir,  Forniot's  servant,  27,  200. 

Elgia,  a  mother  of  Heimdall,  28. 

Eliudnir,  the  hall  of  Hel,  50. 

Elivagar,  3. 

Elli,  her  wrestling  with  Thor,  63. 



Elves,  25  and  w.5,  147,  150. 
Embla,  the  first  woman,  10. 
Erp,  son  of  Jonakur  and  Gudrun,  106  ; 
his  death,  107. 


Fafnir  son  of  Hreidraar,  95  ;  robbed 
of  his  hoard,  and  slain  by  Sigurd, 

Falhofnir,  a  horse,  12. 

Fallanda  forat,  Hel's  threshold,  50. 

Farbauti,  father  of  Loki,  30 ;  his  name 
explained,  182. 

Fenia,  a  slave,  207. 

Fenrir,  Wolf,  31,  49;  chained,  50; 
bites  off  Ty's  hand,  52  ;  will  break 
loose  at  Ragnarock,  80,  81 ;  will 
swallow  Odin,  82 ;  his  death,  ib. ; 
the  volcanic  fire,  184. 

Fensalir,  Frigg's  abode,  32,  73. 

Fialar,  a  cock,  78. 

Fialar,  a  dwarf,  slays  Kvasir,  40 ;  in 
vites  and  slays  Gilling  and  his  wife, 
41 ;  gives  the  precious  mead  to 
Suttung,  ib. 

Fimafeng,  Forniot's  servant,  27,  200. 

Fimbul,  a  river,  3,  note  l. 

Fimbul-winter,  80. 

Fiolnir,a  name  of  Odin,  15,  note  5,  83. 

Fiorgvin,  the  earth,  and  mother  of 
Thor,  21. 

Fiorgynn,  father  of  Frigg,  170. 

Fiorm,  a  river,  3,  note  1. 

Fiorsvartnir,  the  horse  of  Night,  6, 

Fofnir.     See  Fafnir. 

Folkvang,  Freyia's  abode,  32, 130, 196. 

Forniot,  a  giant,  27. 

Forseti,  account  of,  30,  186,  188. 

Forvnia.  1  «     v  .  . 

Folgie.    J^Fylgia. 

Franangur's  fors,  a  waterfall,  77,  183. 

Freki,  one  of  Odin's  wolves,  21. 

Frey  given  as  a  hostage  to  the  .£sir, 
15  ;  his  birth  and  attributes,  25  ; 
his  ship,  Skidbladnir,  and  hog, 
Gullinbursti,  38,  39  ;  his  love  for 
Gerd,  46  ;  gives  his  sword  to  Skir- 
nir,  47,  49  ;  slain  by  Surt,  79,  81 ; 
myth  of,  explained,  196. 

Frey,  a  king,  209. 

Freyia,  given  as  a  hostage  to  the  ^Esir, 

15  ;  account  of,  32,  and  n.3  •  mar 
ried  to  Od,  33  ;  lends  her  plumage 
to  Loki,  44  ;  lends  her  plumage  and 
the  Brisinga-men  to  Loki,  54,  55  ; 
myth  of,  explained,  196,  199. 

Frigg,  Odin's  wife,  16;  account  of, 
31,  and  n. l ;  myth  of,  explained, 
167,  168. 

Frigg's  rok,  the  constellation  Orion, 
167,  note. 

Frodi,  King,  207. 

Frost-giants,  3;  their  dwelling,  11  ; 
myth  of,  explained,  140,  148. 

Fulla,  Frigg's  attendant,  35,  168. 

Fylgia,  an  attendant  spirit,  113,  114, 


Galar,  a  dwarf,  slays  Kvasir,  40  ;  in 
vites  and  slays  Gilling  and  his  wife, 
41 ;  gives  the  precious  mead  to 
Suttung,  ib. 

Galder,  a  species  of  magic,  212. 

Gang,  brother  of  Thiassi,  45,  182. 

Ganglati,  Hel's  servant,  50. 

Ganglot,  Hel's  female  servant,  50. 

Gangrad.     See  Odin. 

Gardarofa,  a  horse,  35, 169. 

Garm,  a  dog  at  Ragnarock,  78,  8]  ; 
slain  by  Ty,  81. 

Gefion,  account  of,  34  and  n.6. 

Gefn,  a  name  of  Freyia,  34. 

Geirrod,  account  of,  17  ;  visited  by 
Odin,  18;  his  death,  19. 

Geirrod,  a  giant,  catches  Loki,  52  ;  is 
killed  by  Thor,  54  ;  his  name  ex 
plained,  178. 

Geir-Skogul,  a  Valkyria,  14. 

Gelgia,  name  of  a  chain,  52. 

Gerd,  Frey's  love  for,  46 ;  myth  of, 
explained,  167,  196. 

Geri,  one  of  Odin's  wolves,  21. 

Gevar,  story  of,  from  Saxo,  187. 

Giallar-bru,  75,  188. 

Giallar-horn,  12,  29. 

Gialp,  Geirrod's  daughter,  causes  the 
river  Vimur  to  swell,  53  ;  her  back 
broken,  54. 

Gialp,  a  mother  of  Heimdall,  28. 

Giants,  10  ;  described,  148. 

Gilling,  a  giant,  41  ;  his  death,  ib. ; 
his  name  explained,  192. 



Gils,  a  horse,  12. 

Gimli,  11,  82,  152. 

Ginnunga-gap,  3,  4. 

Gioll  (Giallar-horn),  12,  29. 

Gioll,  a  river,  3,  note J,  75 ;  explained, 

154,  157. 

Gioll,  name  of  a  rock,  52. 
Giuki,  father  of  Gunnar,  &c.,  99. 
Glad,  a  horse,  12. 
Glad,  the  horse  of  Day,  6,  143. 
Gladsheim,  Odin's  abode,  11,19,130, 


Glasir,  a  wood,  description  of,  20. 
Glaurnvor,  Gunnar's  wife,  her  dream, 

Gleipnir,  a  chain,  of  what  composed, 

51,  184. 

Glen,  husband  of  Sol,  the  sun,  6, 144. 
Gler,  a  horse,  12. 

Glitnir,  Forseti's  abode,  30,  130, 189. 
Gna,  Frigg's  attendant,  35,  168. 
Gnipa's  cave,  78,  81,  185. 
Goa  or  Goa,  209. 
Godheim,  152. 
Gondul,  a  Valkyria,  14. 
Gram,  Sigurd's  sword,  98,  100,  102. 
Grani,    Sigurd's     horse,     95,     100; 

mourns  for  his  master,  103. 
Greip,  Geirrod's  daughter,  her  back 

broken,  54. 

Greip,  a  mother  of  Heimdall,  28. 
Grer,  a  dwarf,  32,  w.3. 
Grid,  mother  of  Vidar,  29,  53,  178. 
Gridarvbll,  name  of  a  staff,  53,  178. 
Grima,  wife  of  Aki,  110. 
Grimhild,  mother  of  Gudrun,  99, 100, 


Grimnir.     See  Odin. 
Griotunagard,  70,  176. 
Groa,  endeavours  to  extract  the  stone 

from  Thor's  forehead,  7 1 . 
Grottasavngr,  account  of  the,  207. 
Gudbrand,  90. 

Gudrun,  daughter  of  Giuki,  99 ;  her 
dream,  ib. ;  married  to  Sigurd,  100  ; 
quarrels  with  Brynhild,  101  ;  flees 
to  Denmark,  103  ;  married  to  Atli, 
103,  104  ;  warns  her  brother  a- 
gainst  Atli,  ib. ;  murders  her  sons, 
106 ;  murders  Atli,  ib. ;  marries 
King  Jonakur,  ib. 

Gullfaxi,  name  of  Hrungnir's  horse, 
69,  71. 

Gullinbursti,  Frey  and  Freyia's  hog, 

26,  33,  39,  199. 
Gullintanni,  a  name  of  Heimdall,  29, 


Gulltopp,  Heimdall's  horse,  12,  29. 
Gullveig  burnt,   14 ;  explanation  of, 


Gungnir,  Odin's  spear,  39. 
Gunn,  a  Valkyria,  14. 
Gunnar,  brother  of  Gudrun,  99  ;  mar 
ries  Brynhild,  100, 101 ;  visits  Atli, 

104;  his  death,  105. 
Gunnlod,    Suttung's    daughter,    has 

charge  of  his  mead,  41 ;  lets  Odin 

drink  it,  42;  myth  of,  explained, 

167,  191,  192. 
Gunnthra,  a  river,  3. 
Guttorm,    brother    of    Gudrun,  99 ; 

murders  Sigurd,  102 ;    his  death, 


Gygr,  149. 
Gylfi,  a  king  of  Sweden,  34,  w.6;  his 

journey  to  Asgard,  132,  note,  145. 
Gyllir,  a  horse,  12. 
Gymir,  a  giant,  father  of  Gerd,  46, 



Hakon  Jarl,  sacrifices  his  son,  90. 
Hallinskeidi,  a  name  of  Heimdall,  29, 

Halogi,  27,  note*-,  father  of  Thor- 

gerd  Horgabrud  and  Irpa,  90. 
Ham,          "I  an  attendant  spirit,  113, 
Hamingia,J      114,115. 
Hamdir,  son  of  Jonakur  and  Gudrun, 

106 ;  murders  Erp,  107  ;  slays  Jor- 

munrek,  108  ;  his  death,  ib. 
Hamhlaup  described,  216. 
Hamskerpir,    1  a  horse>  35,  i69. 
Hamskerpnir,  J 
Hanga-gud,l  Qf  16< 

Hanga-tyr,  J 

Hans  Dihneke,  a  star,  177. 

Har,  19,  145. 

Hati,  a  wolf,  7  ;  will  pursue  the  moon 

78,  80. 

Heidi,  a  name  of  Gullveig,  14,  158. 
Heidrun,  the  goat  in  Valliall,  20 ;  th< 

name  explained,  162. 
Heimdall,  account  of,  28  ;  contendec 

with  Loki  for  the  Brisinga-men,  29 



will  blow  his  horn  at  Ragnarb'ck, 
79,  81;  will  slay  and  be  slain  by 
Loki,  82  ;  myth  of,  explained,  200  ; 
descends  as  Rig,  202,  and  note. 

Heimir  married  to  Brynhild's  sister, 
98,  101  ;  saves  Aslaug  in  a  harp, 
110;  his  death,  111. 

Hel,  the  goddess  of  the  dead,  her 
abode,  11 ;  daughter  of  Loki,  31, 
49 ;  cast  into  Niflheim,  50 ;  de 
scription  of,  ib. ;  will  not  release 
Baldur,  76. 

Helblindi,  brother  of  Loki,  30,  182. 

Helgi  Hundingsbani,  93. 

Heligoland,  why  so  called,  30,  note  4. 

Heraud,  jarl  of  Gothland,  father  of 
Thora,  108. 

Herian,  a  name  of  Odin,  16. 

Hermod,  Odin's  son  and  attendant, 
21  ;  his  journey  to  Hel,  74,  75. 

Hervor  Alvit,  a  Valkyria,  85. 

Hialli,  name  of  a  thrall,  105. 

Hialmgunnar,  slain  by  Brynhild,  97. 

Hialprek,  king  of  Denmark,  94,  103. 

Hild,  a  Valkyria,  14. 

Hildisvini.     See  Gullinbursti. 

Hildolf,  a  son  of  Odin,  31. 

Himinbiorg,Heimdairs  abode,  29, 130. 

Himinbriot,  name  of  an  ox,  66. 

Hiordis,  mother  of  Sigurd,  her  story, 

Hiuki  (Hviki),  a  child  in  the  moon,  6, 

Hladgun  Svanhvit,  a  Valkyria,  85. 

Hler,  son  of  Forniot,  27,  199. 

Hlidskialf,  Odin's  throne,  11 ;  Frey 
sits  in,  46  ;  the  name  explained, 

Hlin,  a  goddess,  35,  79,  168. 

Hlodyn,  the  earth,  and  mother  of 
Thor,  21  and  note  2,  170. 

Hlora,  Thor's  foster-child,  22. 

Hlorridi,  a  name  of  Thor,  21,  54,  56, 

Illb'dver,  a  king,  85. 

Hnikar,  a  name  of  Odin,  15,  note  5,  96. 

Hnitbiorg,  a  mountain,  41. 

linos,  daughter  of  Freyia,  33, 197. 

Hodbrod,  son  of  Granmar,  94. 

Hoddmimir,  158. 

Hoddmimir's  holt,  84,  158. 

Hcenir,  with  Odin  and  Lodur,  creates 
mankind,  10;  given  as  a  hostage 
to  the  Vanir,  15;  his  adventure 

with  Thiassi,  43  ;  will  receive  of 
ferings,  83 ;  his  adventure  with 
the  otter,  95 ;  myth  of,  explained, 

Hofvarpnir,  a  horse,  35,  168. 

Horg  or  Temple,  212. 

Hod  (Hb'dur),  account  of,  29  ;  slays 
Baldur,  74  ;  is  slain  by  Vali,  76 ; 
will  return,  83,  84 ;  his  name  ex 
plained,  187. 

Hogni,  brother  of  Gudrun,  99  ;  visits 
Atli,  104  ;  his  death,  105. 

Hogni,  father  of  Sigrun,  94. 

Horn,  a  name  of  Freyia,  34. 

Hrsesvelg,  a  giant,  7,  144,  182. 

Hrafna-gud,  a  name  of  Odin,  19. 

Hreidmar,  his  story,  95-96. 

Hrimfaxi,  the  horse  of  Night,  6,  143. 

Hrimgrimnir,  a  giant,  49. 

Hrimnir,  a  giant,  92. 

Hrimbursar.     See  Frost-giants. 

Hringhorni,  Baldur's  ship,  75. 

Hrith,  a  river,  3,  note  l. 

Hrodvitnir,  7,  78. 

Hroptatyr,  a  name  of  Odin,  161. 

Hrodung,  a  king,  father  of  Geirrod 
and  Agnar,  17. 

Hrungnir,  a  giant,  his  adventure  with 
Odin,  69;  slain  by  Thor,  70,  71; 
myth  of,  explained,  171,  172,  174, 

Hrym,  a  giant  at  Ragnarock,  79,  81. 

Hugi,  his  race  with  Thialfi,  61. 

Hugin,  one  of  Odin's  ravens,  19. 

Hunding,  a  king,  93. 

Hungr,  Hel's  dish,  50. 

Hvedrung,  a  name  of  Loki,  182. 

Hveralund,  184. 

Hvergelmir,  3;  where  situated,  12; 
serpents  in,  13 ;  rivers  flow  from. 
21  ;  described,  83. 

Hviki.     See  Hiuki. 

Hymir,  a  giant  visited  by  Thor,  65, 
67  ;  myth  of,  explained,  174. 

Hyrrockin,  a  giantess,  75. 

I.     J. 

Ida's  plain,  8;  myth  of,explained,  145. 
Idi,  brother  of  Thiassi,  45,  182. 
Idun,  account  of,  34  ;  abduction  and 

restoration  of,  43 ;  insulted  by  Loki, 

189  ;  myth  of,  190. 




Ifing,  name  of  a  river,  1 1  ;  explained, 

153,  154. 

Irpa,  worshiped  in  Norway,  90. 
Ivald,  father  of  Idun,  34. 
Ivaldi,  sons  of,  make  the  ship  Skid- 

bladnir  and  Sif  s  golden  hair,  38, 


ISavollr.     See  Ida's  plain. 
Jafnhar,  19,  145. 
Jarnsaxa,  a  mother  of  Heimdall,  28, 


Jarnvid,  a  wood,  7. 
Jarnvids,  giantesses,  7,  149. 
Jonakur,  marries  Gudrun,  106. 
Jormungand.  See  Midgard's  Serpent. 
Jormunrek,  marries   Svanhild,  106  ; 

murders  her  and  his  son,  107  ;  his 

death,  108. 
Joruvellir,  9,  150. 
J6r$.     See  Earth. 

Jftuuheira,  }10'152'    ^Giants. 
Jule-tungel,  208. 


Kari,  son  of  Forniot,  27. 

Kerlaugs,  the  two,  name   of  rivers, 

12,  163. 

Kiar,  king  of  Valland,  85. 
Kostbera,  Hiigni's  wife,  her  dreams, 


K6r,  Hel's  bed,  50. 
Kormt,  a  river,  12,  163. 
Kraka.     See  Aslaug. 
Kvasir,  a  Van,  15  ;  an  As,  77. 
Kvasir,  his  creation  and  death,  40  ; 

myth  of,  explained,  191. 


Ladgun.     See  Svanhvit. 

Lading,  name  of  a  chain,  50,  184. 

Lasrad.     See  Lerad. 

Land-vaett,  a  tutelary  genius,  117. 

Landvidi,  Vidar's  abode,  30, 130,  193. 

Laufey,  mother  of  Loki,  30 ;  her  name 

explained,  182. 
Leipt,  a  river,  3,  note  l ;  explanation 

of,  157. 
Lerad,  a  tree  over  Odin's  hall,  20,  21, 

Lettfeti,  a  horse,  12. 

Lif,  84. 

Lifthrasir,  84. 

Light-elves  (Liosalfar),  25,  and  note  5. 

Lingi,  a  king,  94. 

Lios-alfheim,  152. 

Liot,  a  witch,  217. 

Litur,  a  dwarf,  75,  188. 

Lodur,  with  Odin  and  Hoenir,  creates 
mankind,  10  ;  myth  of,  explained, 

Lofar,  progenitor  of  the  dwarfs,  9, 

Lofn,  a  goddess,  35. 

Logi,  his  contest  with  Loki,  60. 

Logi,  27,  and  note  5.     See  Halogi. 

Loki,  contends  with  Heimdall  for  the 
Brisinga-rnen,  29  ;  account  of,  30 ; 
assumes  the  likeness  of  a  mare,  and 
gives  birth  to  Sleipnir,  37;  cuts 
Sif's  hair  off,  38 ;  his  wager  with 
the  dwarf  Brock,  ib.\  his  adventure 
with  Thiassi,  43 ;  entices  Idun  from 
Asgard,  and  brings  her  back,  44 ; 
causes  Skadi  to  laugh,  45  ;  his  off 
spring,  49  ;  caught  by  Geirrod,  52 ; 
accompanies  Thor  to  Geirrod's 
house,  53;  aids  in  recovering  Thor's 
hammer,  54-56  ;  accompanies  Thor 
to  Utgarda-Loki,  56-65;  his  adven 
ture  there,  60  ;  contrives  Baldur's 
death,  73 ;  escape,  capture  and 
punishment  of,  77  ;  will  steer  the 
ship  Naglfar  at  Ragnarock,  79; 
will  slay  and  be  slain  by  Heimdall, 
82  ;  his  adventure  with  the  otter, 
95  ;  myth  of,  explained,  180,  181. 

Lopt.     See  Loki. 

Lyngvi,  an  island,  51,  184. 


Magni,  Thor's  son,  22,  71 ;  will  pos 
sess  Miolnir  after  Ragnarock,  84  ; 
name  explained,  177. 

Managarm,  a  wolf,  7,  78,  80. 

Manheim,  152. 

Mani  (See  Moon)  directs  the  moon's 
course,  6 ;  takes  up  two  children, 

Mardoll,  a  name  of  Freyia,  34. 

Megingjardar,  Thor's  belt  of  power, 
22,  53,  173. 

Meili,  a  son  of  Odin,  31. 



Menia,  a  slave,  207. 

Midgard,  5  ;  description  of,  11. 

Midgard's  Serpent  (Jormungand),  31 , 
49  ;  cast  into  the  ocean,  50  ;  in  the 
likeness  of  a  cat  lifted  by  Thor,  62  ; 
is  caught  by  Thor,  66,  68  ;  at  Rag 
narock,  79,  81 ;  myth  of,  explained, 

Midwinter  sacrifice,  208. 

Mimameiffr,  157. 

Mimir,  his  well,  12  ;  drinks  from  the 
horn  Gioll,  id, ;  sent  with  Hoenir  to 
the  Vanir,  15  ;  slain,  ib. ;  of  his 
head,  ib. ;  his  fountain  explained, 
154;  of  his  myth,  157. 

Mimir,  a  smith,  88. 

MiotvrSr  (Miotuftr),  a  tree,  79,  157. 

Miolnir,  the  name  of  Thor's  hammer, 
22 ;  its  origin,  39  ;  stolen  by  the 
giant  Thrym  and  recovered,  54-56  ; 
will  be  possessed  by  Modi  and  Mag- 
ni  after  Ragnarock,  84 ;  the  name 
explained,  171,  173. 

Modgud,  guardian  of  the  bridge  over 
Gioll,  75,  188. 

Modi,  Thor's  son,  22  ;  will  possess 
Miolnir  after  Ragnarock,  84  ;  name 
explained,  177. 

Modsognir,  a  dwarf,  9,  150. 

Moon,  his  origin,  6  ;  followed  by  a 
wolf,  7;  man  in  the,  143,  and  note 5. 

Mountain-ash,  211. 

Mockurkalfi,  a  giant,  70 ;  slain  by 
Thialfi,  71 ;  name  explained,  177. 

Mundilfori,  father  of  Sun  and  Moon, 
6,  143. 

Munin,  one  of  Odin's  ravens,  19. 

Muspellheim,  3  ;  sparks  from,  5  ;  ex 
plained,  139. 

Myrkheim,  152. 

Mysing,  a  sea-king,  207. 


Nabhi,  a  dwarf,  33. 

Naglfar,  the  ship  at  Ragnarock,  79, 

80  ;  of  what  composed,  ib. 
Naglfari,  a  husband  of  Night,  5,  143. 
Ml.     See  Laufey. 
Nanna,  Baldur's  wife,  30,   34  ;  her 

death,  75  ;  sends  her  veil  to  Frigg, 

and  her  ring  to  Fulla,  76 ;  myth  of. 

explained,  185,  186. 

Narfi.     See  Norvi. 

Nari  (Narvi),  son  of  Loki,  31  ;  his 

death,  78,  183. 
Nastrond,  82. 
Needle-trees,  182,  note  2. 
Nep  (Nef),  father  of  Nanna,  31,  187. 
Nida-fells,  82,  83. 
Nidhogg,  a  serpent,  gnaws  Yggdrasil's 

root,  12;  sucks  dead  bodies,  83; 

will  bear  dead  carcases  on  his  wings, 

ib. ;  its  name,  155. 
Nidud,  king  of  the  Niarer,  85  ;  ham- 

strings  Volund,  86. 
Nidung,  a  king  of  Thy,  88. 
Niflheim,  3,  139,  152. 
Niflung,  Hogni's  son,  murders  Atli, 

Night  (Nott),  5  ;  married  to  Naglfari, 

ib. ;   to  Anar,  ib. ;   to  Belling,  6  : 

her  horse,  ib. ;  myth  of,  explained, 

Niord  given  to  the  ^Esir  as  a  hostage, 

14  ;  his  abode  and  attributes,  24  ; 

his  marriage  with  Skadi,  45 ;  myth 

of,  explained,  195. 
Nith,  a  kind  of  magic,  219. 
Nithi,  the  waning  moon,  5. 
Noatun,  Niord's  abode,  24,  45,  130. 
Norns,  their  names,  12;  functions,  ib.; 

dogs,  ib. ;  water  the  ash  Yggdrasil, 

13  ;  myth  of,  explained,  156. 
Northri,  5,  151. 
Nott.     See  Night. 
Norvi,  the  father  of  Night,  5. 
Nyi,  the  new  moon,  5. 


Od,  Freyia's  husband,  33,  197. 

Odhraerir,  name  of  a  kettle,  40,  192. 

Odin,  his  birth,  4  ;  with  his  brothers 
creates  the  earth,  ocean,  &c.,  ib, ; 
also  the  heavenly  bodies,  5  ;  with 
Hoenir  and  Lodur  creates  mankind, 
10 ;  with  Vili  and  Ve  creates  man 
kind,  ib. ',  casts  a  spear  and  excites 
war  among  men,  14  ;  enchants  Mi- 
mir's  head,  15 ;  his  names,  ib. ; 
under  the  name  of  Gangrad  visits 
Vafthrudnir,  16 ;  under  the  name 
of  Grimnir  goes  to  Geirrod,  17,  18  ; 
as  Vegtam  consults  a  deadVala,  19  ; 
of  his  ravens,  Hugin  and  Munin , 



ib. ;  lives  solely  on  wine,  21 ;  the 
jarls  that  fall  belong  to  him,  22  ; 
foster-brother  of  Loki,  31  ;  drinks 
daily  with  Saga,  34  ;  of  his  horse, 
Sleipnir,  36 ;  of  his  spear  and  ring, 
39;  gets  Suttung's  mead,  41 ;  works 
for  Baugi  under  the  name  of  B61- 
verk,  ib. ;  his  flight  from  Suttung, 
42 ;  his  adventure  with  Thiassi, 
43  ;  makes  stars  of  Thiassi's  eyes, 
45  ;  his  adventure  with  the  giant 
Hrungnir,  69  ;  goes  down  to  11  el 
to  consult  a  dead  Vala,  72  ;  will 
consult  Mimir's  head  at  Ragnarock, 
79,81  ;  will  fight  with  Fenrir-wolf, 
81  ;  be  swallowed  by  him,  82 ; 
visits  Siggeir,  92 ;  fights  against 
Sigmund,  94  ;  aids  Sigurd  to  find 
out  Grani,  95  ;  kills  Ottur  and  pays 
the  mulct,  ib. ;  appears  as  Hnikar 
to  Sigurd,  96  ;  drinks  of  Mimir's 
fountain,  154  ;  myth  of,  explained, 
158,  161 ;  appears  to  King  Olaf 
Tryggvason,  160 ;  modern  belief 
concerning  him  and  his  horse,  164  ; 
story  of  him  and  Rinda,  169 ;  his  ob 
taining  Suttung's  mead  explained, 
191.  See  also  All-father. 

(Egir,  son  of  Forniot,27;  visited  by  the 
Jisir,  67  ;  myth  of,  explained,  199. 

Okolni,  82. 

Olaf,  King  St.,  Thor  his  prototype, 
21,  note  3. 

Olaf  Tryggvason,  Odin  appears  to, 
160;  Thor  appears  to,  176. 

Oiler,  myth  of,  from  Saxo,  179. 

Omi,  a  name  of  Odin,  15,  note  5. 

Onar.     See  Anar. 

Oski,  a  name  of  Odin,  15,  note  5. 

Ottur,  son  of  Hreidmar,  his  death,  95. 

Oku-Thor,  a  name  of  Thor,  22,  173. 

Olrun,  a  Valkyria,  85. 

Ondurgud  and  Ondurdis,  names   of 
Skadi,  46. 

6'rint,  a  river,  12,  163. 

Orvar.dil,  a  giant,  71  ;  a  star  made  of 
his  toe,  72, 177. 

Osten,  a  king  at  Upsala,  113. 


Phol,  23,  note. 

Plants. — Thorhialm  (aconite),  Sw. 
stormhat,  22,  note l ;  Baldur's  brow, 
what  plants  so  called,  ib.  note  2  ; 
Niar'Sar  vottr  (Niord's  glove,  spon- 
gia  marina,  our  Lady's  hand,  &c.), 
25,  n. 2;  Forneotes  folme  (Forniot's 
hand),  28,  n.  2 ;  Tysved  (daphne 
mezereon),  28,  n.  4;  Loki's  oats 
(polytrichum  commune),  30,  n.  6  ; 
Loki's  purse  (yellow  rattle,  rhinan- 
thus  crista  galli),  ib. ;  Freyju  har 
(supercilium  Veneris),  34,  n.  l ;  Sif- 
jar  haddr  (polytrichum  aureum), 
34,  n.  3, 179  ;  Sorb-tree,  proverb  of, 
53  ;  Tysfiola  (viola  Martis)  ;  Tyr- 
hialm  (aconitum,  monk's-hood), 
Dan.  Troldhat;  Tyviftr,  Dan.  Ty- 
ved  (daphne  mezereon,  spurge  lau 
rel),  167,  note  ;  Friggjar-gras,  hjo- 
na-gras  (orchis  odoratissima,  mar 
riage  grass),  167,  note  ;  Quicken 
tree,  or  Mountain-ash,  211. 


Quicken  Tree,  211. 


Ragnar  (Lodbrok),  slays  a  dragon, 
108  ;  marries  Thora,  109  ;  marries 
Aslaug,  111-113. 

Ragnarock  described,  78-83,  205. 

Ran,  wife  of  Forniot,  27,  199. 

Randve,  son  of  Jormunrek,  106;  his 
death,  107. 

Ratatbsk,  a  squirrel,  13, 155. 

Rati,  an  auger,  42,  193. 

Regin,  Sigurd's  instructor,  95;  his 
parentage,  ib. ;  forges  a  sword  for 
Sigurd,  96;  drinks  Fafnir's  blood 
and  cuts  out  his  heart,  ib. 

Rerir,  father  of  Volsung,  91. 

Rig,  Heimdall  visits  the  earth  under 
the  name  of,  202,  and  note. 

Rind,  mother  of  Vali,  36  ;  meaning  of 
name,  168;  story  of,  from  Saxo,  169. 

Rithil,  name  of  a  sword,  97. 

Roster,  a  name  assumed  by  Odin,  169. 

Rostiophus  Finnicus,  169. 

Roskva,  22  ;  taken  into  Thor's  ser 
vice,  and  attends  him  to  Jotunheim, 
57,  173. 

Rutheni,  king  of  the,  169. 



Saeg,  name  of  a  bucket,  6. 

Saehrimnir,  name  of  a  hog  that  is 
boiled  every  day  for  the  Einheriar, 

Saga,  account  of,  34,  191. 

Salar-Steinn,  9. 

Seeland,  origin  of,  34,  n.6. 

Seid,  a  species  of  magic,  14,  212. 

Seier-fotJr,  a  name  of  Odin,  16. 

Sessrymnir,  Freyia's  hall,  32,  196. 

Sid-hat,  a  name'of  Odin,  16. 

Sid-skegg,  a  name  of  Odin,  16. 

Sif,  Thor's  wife,  22  ;  account  of,  34  ; 
her  hair  cut  off  by  Loki,  38  ;  her 
golden  hair,ib.;  myth  of,  explained, 

Sig-foftr,  a  name  of  Odin,  16. 

Siggeir,  a  king  in  Gothland,  92. 

Sigi,  progenitor  of  the  Volsungs,  91. 

Sigmund,  father  of  Sigurd,  his  story, 

Signi,  daughter  of  Volsung.  her  storv, 

Sigrun,  married  to  Helgi,  94. 

Sigtrud,  King,  209. 

Sigurd,  his  birth,  95  ;  instructed  by 
Regin,  ib. ;  obtains  Grani,  ib. ; 
•visits  Grip,  96;  acquires  the  lan 
guage  of  birds,  97  ;  avenges  his  fa 
ther's  death,  ib. ;  slays  Fafnir,  ib. ; 
meets  with  Brynhild,  ib. ;  descrip 
tion  of,  98  ;  visits  Heimir,  ib. ;  en 
gages  to  marry  Brynhild,  99  ;  mar 
ries  Gudrun,  1*00  ;  murdered,  102. 

Sigyn,  wife  of  Loki,  31  ;  attends  him 
during  his  punishment,  78 ;  her 
name  explained,  184. 

Silfrintop,  a  horse,  12. 

Simul,  name  of  a  pole,  6. 

Sindri,  a  hall,  82. 

Sindri  (/Eitri),  precious  things  made 
by,  38,  182. 

Sindur,  a  mother  of  Heimdall,  28. 

Sinfiotli,  son  of  Sigmund  and  Signi, 
his  story,  93,  94. 

Sinir,  a  horse,  12. 

Siofn,  a  goddess,  35. 

Siustin,  209. 

Siva,  a  goddess,  described,  179. 

Skadi,  daughter  of  Thiassi,  marries 
Nib'rd,  45 ;  runs  on  snow-skates, 

46 ;  hangs  a  snake  over  Loki's  head, 
78,  183  ;  myth  of,  explained,  195. 

Skates,  bones  used  for,  179,180,  and 
note  1. 

Skeidbrimir,  a  horse,  12. 

Skidbladnir,  the  ship  of  the  gods,  of 
its  construction,  38,  39,  199. 

Skinfaxi,  the  horse  of  Day,  6,  143. 

Skirnir,  Frey's  servant,  27  ;  his  visit 
to  Gerd,  46;  goes  to  Svart-Alfheim, 
51  ;  myth  of,  explained,  196. 

Skofnung,  name  of  a  sword,  219. 

Skogul,  a  Valkyria,  14. 

Skoll,  a  wolf,  6  ;  will  pursue  the  sun, 
78,  80. 

Skrymir  (Skrymnir),  Utgarda-Loki 
under  the  name  of,  his  adventure 
with  Thor,  57-59  ;  his  name  ex 
plained,  178. 

Skulld,  a  Norn,  12,  and  Valkyria,  14. 

Slagfin,  Volund's  brother,  84. 

Sleep-thorn,  97. 

Sleipnir,  Odin's  horse,  12  ;  his  origin, 
36  ;  myth  of,  explained,  163. 

Slid,  a  river,  3,  note l,  83. 

Snotra,  a  goddess,  36. 

Sol.     See  Sun. 

Solblindi,  157. 

Son,  name  of  a  vessel,  40,  192. 

Sorb-tree,  53. 


Sorli,  son  of  Jonakur  and  Gudrun, 
106 ;  murders  Erp,  107  ;  slays  Jor- 
munrek,  108  ;  his  death,  ib. 

Sullt,  Hel's  knife,  50. 

Summer  (Sumar),  his  father,  7. 

Sun,  5  ;  her  origin,  6  ;  marriage,  ib. ; 
horses,  ib. ;  followed  by  a  wolf,  ib. ; 
reckoned  among  the  goddesses,  36  ; 
her  daughter,  84. 

Surt,  3,  4  ;  will  come  forth  at  Rag- 
narb'ck,  79,  81  ;  will  slay  Frey,  ib. ; 
will  burn  the  universe,  82 ;  name 
explained,  139. 

Suthri,  5,  151. 

Suttung,  obtains  the  precious  mead, 
41  ;  his  name  explained,  192. 

Svadilfori,  name  of  a  horse,  36 ;  il 
lustration  of,  164. 

Svalin,  a  shield  before  the  Sun,  6. 

Svanhild,  daughter  of  Sigurd  and  Gud 
run,  married  to  Jormunrek,  106  ; 
her  death,  107. 



Svanhvit,  a  Valkyria,  85. 

Svart-alfheim,  152. 

Svasud,  father  of  Summer,  7,  144. 

Svavl,  a  river,  3. 

Swans  fed  in  the  well  of  Urd,  14. 

Svefn-J>orn,  97. 

Sylg,  a  river,  3. 

Syn,  a  goddess,  36. 

Syr,  a  name  of  Freyia,  34. 


Tanngniost,  one  of  Thor's  goats,  22, 

Tanngrisnir,  one  of  Thor's  goats,  22, 

Thialfi,  22  ;  taken  into  Thor's  service 
and  attends  him  to  Jotunheiin,  51  ; 
his  adventure  there, GO;  slays  Mb'ck- 
urkalfi,  71 ;  myth  of,  explained, 

Thiassi,  a  giant,  his  adventure,  under 
the  form  of  an  eagle,  with  Odin, 
Loki  and  Hoenir,  43  ;  gets  posses 
sion  of  Idun,  44  ;  his  death,  ib. ; 
his  eyes  made  into  stars,  45  ;  name 
of,  explained,  182. 

Thiodreyrir,  a  dwarf,  161. 

Thor,  his  parentage,  21  ;  habitation, 
ib. ;  prototype  of  St.  Olaf,  21, note  3 ; 
his  several  names,  21,  22;  his  goats, 
ib. ;  his  hammer,  belt  and  gloves, 
ib.  ;  the  thralls  belong  to  him,  ib. ; 
his  sons,  wife  and  daughter,  ib. ; 
servants,  ib. ;  foster-children,  ib. ; 
slays  the  builder,  37  ;  his  hammer, 
39 ;  enticed  by  Loki  to  Geirrod's 
house,  52  ;  kills  the  giant  Geirrod, 
54  ;  loss  and  recovery  of  his  ham 
mer,  54-56 ;  his  visit  to  Utgarda- 
Loki,  56-65 ;  visits  the  giant  Hy- 
mir,  65 ;  catches  the  Midgard  s 
serpent,  66 ;  with  Ty  visits  Hymir, 
67  ;  goes  with  him  to  fish  aud 
catches  the  Midgard's  serpent,  68  ; 
carries  off  Hymir's  kettle,  ib. ;  slays 
and  is  wounded  by  Hrungnir,  71  ; 
catches  Loki  in  the  form  of  a  sal 
mon,  77  ;  slays  and  is  slain  by  the 
Midgard's  serpent,  79,  81  ;  myth 
of,  explained,  171;  modern  tradi 
tion  of,  174  ;  appears  to  King  Olaf 
Tryggvason,  176. 

™'  I  Thor's  realm,  21, 172. 

Thora,  daughter  of  Hakon,  103. 

Thora  Biorgar-hjort,  daughter  of  He- 
raud,  108 ;  married  to  Ragnar 
Lodbrok,  109  ;  her  death,  ib. 

Thorbiorg,  a  Vala,  214. 

Thorgerd  Horgabrud,  worshiped  in 
Norway,  90  ;  aids  Hakon  Jarl,  ib. 

Thorsmanad,  208. 

Thokt,  a  giantess,  76 ;  myth  of,  ex 
plained,  188. 

Thrithi,  19,  145. 

Thrud,  Thor's  daughter,  22,  34,  177. 

Thrudgelmir,  4,  140. 



Thrym,  a  giant,  steals  Thor's  ham 
mer,  his  death,  54-56  ;  his  sister, 
56;  his  name  explained,  178. 

Thrymgioll,  157. 

Thrymheim,  Thiassi  and  Skadi's 
abode,  45, 130,  196. 

Thul,  a  river,  3,  note. 

Thund,  name  of  a  river,  20. 

Thurs,  name  explained,  148. 

Thusbet,  an  evil  spirit,  115. 

Thviti,  name  of  a  rock,  52. 

Troms,  the  Norwegian  Blocksberg, 

Ty  (Tyr),  account  of,  28  ;  loses  his 
hand,  52 ;  accompanies  Thor  to 
the  giant  Hymir's,  67  ;  his  death, 
81  ;  his  myth,  166,  167. 


Ukko-Taran,  the  Finnish  name  of 
Thor,  173. 

Ulfliot,  the  first  lawgiver  of  Iceland, 

Ulfrun,  a  mother  of  Heimdall,  28. 

Ull,  account  of,  30 ;  myth  of,  explain 
ed,  179. 

Urd,  fountain  of,  12  ;  swans  in,  13  ; 
explained,  154. 

Urd,  a  Norn,  12. 

Utgard.     See  Jb'tunheim. 

Utgarda-Loki,  visited  by  Thor  and 
Loki,  56-65. 


Vadi,  father  of  Velint,  88. 
Vatt,  a  tutelary  genius,  113,  116. 



Vafthrudnir,  a  giant  visited  by  Odin, 

Vala,  a  prophetess,  214. 

Valaskialf,  Vali's  abode,  11, 130  ;  the 
name  explained,  161. 

Valfather,  a  name  of  Odin,  15,  16. 

Valfreyia.     See  Freyia. 

Val grind,  a  fence  round  Valhall,  20. 

Valhall,  those  that  fall  in  battle  re 
ceived  into,  15  ;  description  of,  19. 

Vali,  account  of,  30;  avenges  the 
death  of  Baldur,  76  ;  will  live  after 
Ragnarock,  84  ;  of  his  name,  187. 

Vali  (Ali),  son  of  Loki,  31 ;  his  death, 
78,  183. 

Valkyriur  come  to  the  aid  of  the  gods, 
14 ;  their  names,  ib. ;  wait  upon 
the  Einheriar,  20 ;  their  myth,  156  ; 
description  of,  163. 

Vana-dis,  an  appellation  of  Freyia,  32. 

Vanaheim,  152. 

Vanargand,  a  name  of  Fenrir,  52. 

Vanir  anticipate  war  with  the  JEsir, 
14 ;  make  peace,  ib. ;  slay  Mimir, 
15  ;  rule  over  air  and  sea,  147, 150. 

Vardogl,  an  attendant  spirit,  113, 115, 

Vartari,  a  thong,  40  ;  name  explained, 

Ve,  4 ;  with  Odin  creates  mankind, 
10 ;  brother  of  Odin,  marries  Frigg, 
32  ;  myth  of,  145. 

Vecha,  a  name  assumed  by  Odin,  170. 

Vedurfolnir,  a  hawk,  13. 

Vegtam,  a  name  assumed  by  Odin. 

Velint,  his  Saga,  88  ;  hamstringed, 
89  ;  violates  Nidung's  daughter  and 
murders  his  sons,  ib.  See  Vdlund. 

Veor  (Vor),  a  name  of  Thor,  173. 

Vera-tyr,  a  name  of  Odin,  16. 

Verdandi,  a  Norn,  12. 

Vestri,  5,  151. 

Vetur.     See  Winter. 

Vidar,  account  of,  29 ;  will  slay  the 
wolf  Fenrir,  79,  82  ;  will  live  after 

Ragnarock,  84  ;  myth  of,  explained, 

Vidblain,  11,  152. 

Vidfinn,  father  of  Bil  and  Hiuki,  6. 

Vigrid,  name  of  a  plain,  81. 

Vili,  4  ;  with  Odin  creates  mankind, 
10 ;  brother  of  Odin,  marries  Frigg, 
32  ;  myth  of,  145. 

Vilkinus,  father  of  Vadi,  88. 

Vimur,  name  of  a  river,  53. 

Vindheim,  83,  152. 

Vindsval,  father  of  Winter,  7,  144. 

Vingi,  Atli's  messenger,  104  ;  falsifies 
Gudrun's runes,  ib.;  his  death,  105. 

Vingnir,  Thor's  foster-child,  22. 

Vingolf,  8,  11 ;  those  that  fall  in  bat 
tle  received  into,  15. 


Vith,  a  river,  3,  note  1. 

Von,  a  river  issuing  from  the  mouth 
of  Fenrir,  52,  184. 

Volsung,  account  of,  92. 

Volund,  his  Saga,  84  ;  hamstringed, 
86  ;  kills  Nidud's  sons,  ib. ;  violates 
his  daughter,  87.  See  Velint. 

Vor,  a  goddess,  35. 


Winter,  his  father,  7. 
Wudga,  90,  note l. 


Ydalir,  Ull's  abode,  30. 
Year,  of  the  old  Northern,  128-130. 
Ygg,  a  name  of  Odin,  154,  note2. 
Yggdrasil,  description  of,  11  ;  an  eagle 

in  its  branches,  13  ;  explained,  154, 

and  note  2. 

Ylg,  a  river,  3,  note l. 
Ymir,  birth  of,  3  ;  slain,  4  ;  the  earth, 

&c.  formed  of  his  body,  5 ;  myth 

of,  explained,  140,  141. 
Yule-beer,  208. 
Yule-month,  208. 




Diar,  230. 

Gu^,  241. 

Dickkopfs,  237. 

Gylfi,  230. 

Abundia,  281. 

Domen,  243. 

Adalbert,  267,  n.1. 

Donar,  230,  276. 


Asaheim,  229. 
Aurelia  (St.),  266. 

Dovrefield,  243. 
Dwarfs,  236-239. 

Habonde,  281. 
Harke  (Fran),  280. 



Hel,     1  227  n 

Baldur,  231. 

Easter  fires,  284. 

Hell,  286. 

Barenton,  247,  n.  l. 

Eastre,  227,  n. 

Hen  (Black)  offered  1 

Beal,  285,  n.  2. 

Ecke,  234. 

the  devil,  270. 

Bealtine,          "1  2g5  w2. 

Eckhart,  286. 

Hera  (Fran),  280. 

Bealtane-tree,  J 

Erbsenmuhme,  250. 

Herodias,  272. 

Bechelsberg,  \9,o 
Bechtelsberg,  J  *' 

Erce,  280. 

Heuberg,  243. 
Hild,  241. 

Bensozia,  281. 


Hlodyn,  232. 

Berchta  "1             <- 

Hludana,  232. 

Bertha     1        ' 

Fairies,  240. 

Holdal  Fran,  277,  27 

Bilsen-schnitter,  245. 

Fasolt,  234. 

Holle  J    286,  28  7,  n. 

Bilwiz,  244. 

Forest-men,    "1  251  252 

Holde,  244. 

Bischenberg,  243. 

Forest-wives,  J        ' 

Holzleute,  250. 

Blakulla,  243. 

Forseti,  231. 

Horselberg,  243,  286. 

Blocksberg,  243. 
Blood-tree,  256. 

Fosite,   231,    257,   w.2, 
259,  n.4,  265,  w.1. 

I.     J. 

Brocken,  243. 

Frea,  231. 

Brunnenholde,  244. 
Biichelberg,  243. 
Bulwechs,  244. 

Frecke  (Fru),  276. 
Frederic  Barbarossa,287. 
Frigg,  231,  276. 

Idisi,  241. 
Idols,  260-263. 
Indiculus      Superstit 


Frua,  231. 
Fulla,  231. 

num,  232. 
Inselberg,  243. 

John  Baptist  (St.),  2! 




John's  (St.)  day,   2£ 

Cats,  281. 

Gall  (St.),  266. 

fires,  ib. 

Changelings,  237. 
Charles  (Emperor),  287. 

Gaue  (Fru),  275. 
George  (St.),  228,  n. 
Gertrud's   (St.)    Minne, 

Jiidel,  245. 



Giants,  234. 

Kandel,  243. 

Death,  286,  289-292. 

Gozbert,  268. 

Kiarru,  243. 

Death,  driving  out    of, 

Green  Man,  284. 
Groves,  255. 

Kielkropfs,  237. 
Kilian  (St.),  268. 

Diana,  272, 

Guckenberg,  287. 

King  of  the  May,  284 



Kobolds,  253. 

Pilwiz,  1  244 

Tremsemutter,  249. 

Kornweib,  249. 

Pilewis,  .M  44' 

Troins,  243. 

Koterberg,  243. 

Pipen  (Brod),  252, 

Tuesday,  several  names 

Kreidenberg,  243. 

Prayers,  263. 

of,  231,  n.1. 

Kyfhauser,  287, 

Processions,  282. 

Tuisco,  232. 

Ty,  227,  n.,  231. 




Lettuce-king,  284. 

Queen  of  the  May,  284. 

Long  Woman,  250. 

Unterberg,  287, 

Lyderhorn,  243. 


Urd  (UrSr),  239. 

Ran,  288. 



Roggenraohme,  250. 

Magnus  (St.),  273. 

Rural-sprite,  249. 

Vardo,  243. 

Mannus,  232. 

Ve,  230. 

Mary  (Virgin),  227,  n. 
May,  king  and  queen  of, 

Sacrifices,  264. 

Venusberg,  286,  287,  n.1. 
Vergodendeel,  1  274, 
Vergutentheil,  J"  275. 

Mermeut,  234. 

Satia,  281. 

Vili,  230. 

Michael  (St.),  228,  n. 

Saxnot,  232. 

Volla,  231. 

Midsummer,  284. 

Schrat,    1  245 

Minne,  244,  271. 

Schratz,  J 


Montmartre,  228,  n. 

Siegberg,  228,  n. 

Moon,  281. 

Sighe,  285,  n.  a. 

Waldleute,  250. 

Moosfraulein,  251. 
Moosleute,  250. 

Sigtuna,  230. 
Snake  of  the  Langobardi, 

Waltschrat,  245. 
Wanne  Thekla,  280. 

Mummelsee,  247,  n. 

Snakes,        superstitions 

Wasserholde,  244. 
Water,  285. 

connected  with,  289. 

Water-sprite,  246-249. 


Souls,  after  death,  state 

Weckingsstein,  243. 

Nasafjall,  243. 

of,  286,  289. 

Wednesday,      several 

Need-fire,  285. 

Springs,  257,  285. 

names  of,  229,  n.  3. 

Nerthus,  282. 

Staffelstein,  243. 

Werre,  280. 

Nix,  246,  288, 

Stempe,  280. 

White  Lady,  279. 

Norns,  238,  239. 

Stepke,!  23ri  n  9 

Wilde  Leute,  250. 

Nothfeuer,  285. 

Stopke,  J      l  ' 
Straggele,  280. 

Witches,  241. 
Witch-  mountains,  243. 

Sun,  281. 

Wodan,  229,  273,  274. 


Wode,  274. 

Oak  felled  by  Boniface, 


Wodel-beer,  274. 


Woden,  227,  n.,  276. 

Odenberg,  287. 
Odense,  230. 

Tanais,      1  229. 
Tanaqvisl,  J 

Worship    (places      of), 

Odin,  229. 

Tanhauser,  286. 

Wurth,  240. 

Ostara,  227,  n. 

Temples,  259. 

Wyrd,  239,  240. 

Thor,  227,  n.,  276. 

Thunaer,  230. 



Thursday,  several  names 

Pharaildis,  273. 

of,  230,  n.  8. 

Zio,  231. 

Phol,  231. 

Trees,  257,  282. 






University  of  Toronto 








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